Police Officer Patrick O’Rourke
West Bloomfield Police Department, Michigan
End of Watch: Sunday, September 9, 2012
Tour of Duty: 12 years
Badge Number: Not available
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Date of Incident: September 9, 2012
Weapon Used: Gun; Unknown type
Suspect Info: Not available
Agency Contact Information
Chief of Police Michael Patton
West Bloomfield Police Department
4530 Walnut Lake Road
PO Box 250188
West Bloomfield, MI 48325
Phone: (248) 975-9200
Police Officer Patrick O’Rourke was shot and killed while making entry into a home on Forest Edge Lane after responding to a domestic dispute and reports of shots fired inside of the house.
He and four other officers had responded to the initial call shortly after 10:00 pm. Several family members who had been in the home had exited it prior to the arrival of the officers and informed them that the man inside may have committed suicide.
The officers entered the home and made their way to a bedroom. Before entering the bedroom they called out the subject’s name but were met with gunfire through the bedroom door. Officer O’Rourke was struck by the gunfire and critically wounded. He was transported to McLaren Hospital where he succumbed to his wounds.
The subject remains barricaded inside of the home.
Officer O’Rourke had served with the West Bloomfield Police Department for 12 years. He is survived by his wife and four children.
A West Bloomfield Township police officer who thought he was helping a suicidal resident was instead killed, shot by the man who is still barricaded in a West Bloomfield Township home this afternoon.
Killed was Officer Patrick O’Rourke, 39, a 12-year veteran and married father of four children.
The gunman, identified by authorities as Rick Coley, was exchanging gunfire with police at 10 a.m, police said. Oakland County Sheriff’s Office response teams are trying to convince the man to come out of his home in the 4000 block of Forest Edge, off Pontiac Trail east of Halsted.
Coley, 50, an out-of-work engineer and businessman, had recently seen problems piling up: A divorce and a federal lawsuit and other troubles over two companies he was involved with, according to court records and others.
At 12:44 p.m., a large armored vehicle turned onto Forest Edge, followed by a large enclosed Oakland County Sheriff’s Office trailer. Police did not give details.
Just before 11:30 a.m., a white, unmarked utility truck pulling an enclosed trailer arrived at the scene, which officers at the site identified as FBI personnel and equipment.
Pontiac Trail near Halsted remains closed. About 12 families evacuated around 2 a.m to the township hall have left with family, township officials said. The West Bloomfield schools are open.
West Bloomfield Police Lt. Timothy Diamond said that the sheriff’s office used robots to try to see inside the house in an effort to end the stand-off. He said the gunshots may have been from the gunman shooting at the robot.
O’Rourke, of Fenton was standing outside a bedroom last night when shots blasted through the door and wall, Diamond said.
"It’s a terrible day," said Diamond.
Family members called police at about 10 p.m. Sunday when Coley fired a single shot in his bedroom, despondent over a pending divorce, Diamond said.
Diamond said Coley was set to move out of his house when things went wrong on Sunday.
"His family had apparently come from North Carolina to help him move back to North Carolina," Diamond said. "And then he decided he wasn’t going to go."
"Typically, if you only hear one shot, generally somebody has committed suicide," Diamond said. "They thought they were going in to render aid."
The four other officers with O’Rourke were able to get him out of the house and to McLaren Hospital in Pontiac, where he was declared dead.
The well-liked officer started at the West Bloomfield Police Department as a cadet in 1997 and became a police officer in 2000 after attending Wayne County Regional Police Academy at Schoolcraft College, Sgt. Tara Kane said today.
"They’re just extremely wonderful, nice people," she said about O’Rourke and his wife, Amy O’Rourke, 37. The couple has three daughters: Eileen, 10; Mary, 8, and Andrea, 5. Their son, Stephen, is 9 months old. "He’s probably the most-liked person in this building."
The couple became sweethearts at Hartland High School after meeting while working together at McDonald’s. Patrick O’Rourke graduated from Hartland in 1991; Amy O’Rourke graduated in 1993.
O’Rourke’s father-in-law, Steve Corry, 59, of Linden, the family is relying on their faith and is surrounded by their church family from St. John Catholic Church in Fenton.
"We’ll take all the prayers we can get," Corry said. "Patrick was a very strong Catholic and very much appreciated by his church and church family, so any prayers would be great."
The family created a new Facebook page under "Lt. Patrick O’Rourke," in reference to a pending promotion at the police department.
Amy O’Rourke would like those who knew or interacted with her husband to post thoughts there, her father said.
Information about an education fund being created by the police department for the couple’s four children will also be posted there when it is available, Corry said.
"Post favorite memories on Facebook," he said. "She wants memories for the girls."
Najab Ayar, who lives next door to Coley on the quiet street, describes Coley as a "family man," who was having family issues and possibly financial problems.
"I would not believe he would do such a thing, I would not even dream it," Ayar said. "I saw (his wife) on the street last night and said, "Have you talked to him?’ She just said no. She said, ‘Too many problems.’ That’s all she said."
He said Coley has an engineering degree and owns a local trucking company.
"Hopefully some sense will come to his mind and he will think about his son, and come out and get it over with peacefully," Ayar said. "That is what we’re praying for."
Online court records indicate Coley’s wife, Deniece Coley, sued for divorce in Oakland County in June. The records list a case disposition date of Aug. 30, with a judgment being prepared.
According to court documents, Deniece Coley moved out of the family’s home on June 12.
The couple, who were married in Pontiac in November 1998, have a 7-year-old son.
Deniece Coley claims her husband physically attacked her on June 12 and that he had threatened to take their son. She claims that he’s been unfaithful and is under psychological counseling.
She also said in the complaint that he has not worked for the past three years “though physically and otherwise qualified to work,” noting that Coley has a bachelor’s degree in engineering and an MBA.
Coley was sued by Hilda Solis, U.S. Secretary of Labor, in federal court in Bay City in August, accused of transferring $341,946 from a company that CNC Holdings had acquired a controlling interest in in 2008 to himself or his affiliates.
Coley’s LinkedIn page lists him as chairman emeritus and the former private equity executive director for CNC Holdings.
Federal court documents show that the other company, Translogic Auto Carriers, which ceased operations in 2010, had been withholding money from its employees’ paychecks during this period but failed to send the money to an employee dental, vision and life insurance plan, which was ultimately canceled.
More than $17,313 in employee claims were denied.
According to what appears to be his Facebook page, Coley was born in Goldsboro, N.C., studied industrial and systems engineering at Georgia Tech, received an MBA at Queens University of Charlotte and attended the North Carolina Central University School of Law in Durham.
Coley’s LinkedIn page says he had worked for Ford until January 2008 as North American plants operations manager/director, had worked for UPS and General Motors.
The page also says he was a 2nd lieutenant in the Army’s Infantry Reserve, serving in Charlotte, and a specialist 4th class/corporal-nuclear artillery in Augsburg, formerly West Germany.
Neighbor Renee Poota, 33, who lives across the street, watched in horror Sunday night as O’Rourke was shot.
"It was very scary," she said. "I just saw the police break into the house, and there was shooting. And I guess it was the police (officer) that just passed away, they were carrying him out and there was an ambulance. It started around 10 o’clock last night and the shooting was around 11:15."
Poota said she doesn’t know Coley.
Police called Poota’s home at about 4:30 a.m. today, telling her that she, her husband and their four children ages 6 to 13, needed to leave.
"They said you have to leave and your house is the most dangerous house because it’s across the street," she said from a relative’s home this morning.
Diamond said counselors have been working overnight with the West Bloomfield Township police officers, fire department personnel and dispatchers involved in the situation.
"The officers who responded are pretty shaken up, so they haven’t been interviewed intensely, and they probably won’t be for a couple of days," Diamond said.
At Pleasant Lake Elementary School on Halsted Road about a half-mile from the shooting scene, school remained in session even as Wayne County Sheriff’s Office cars guarded the school entrance. One school mother said she worried about her child being in school and whether the gunman was contained at the scene.
But Judy Evola, spokeswoman for Walled Lake Consolidated Schools, said the district had been in constant contact with authorities about the standoff and "there is no danger" to the children. "In fact school is probably the safest place for them," she said.
West Bloomfield Township Police Chief Michael Patton is expected to make a statement later today, Diamond said.
Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon today expressed his condolences and offers sympathy and prayers to the family of the fallen officer, his colleagues and friends.
“To learn that a veteran officer has been lost saddens us all to the core because we know he selflessly made the greatest sacrifice," Napoleon said in a statement. "My prayers go out to his loved ones and friends.”
Elton Black & Son in Highland is handling the pending funeral arrangements for O’Rourke.