Police Chief: Department In Shock Over Officer’s Death
WEST BLOOMFIELD (WWJ) – West Bloomfield Police Chief Michael Patton is breaking his silence, now more than 36 hours since the fatal shooting of one of his officers.
Patton said his department remains in a state of shock over the death of 39-year-old Patrick O’Rourke, but they still have a job to do.
He said his officers approached the Sunday night call to Ricky Covey’s home with elevated concern and were aware the homeowner was armed.
“We thought he was a person at risk, he may have harmed himself. We were there to attempt to save his life,” Patton told reporters. “And
even though he had no appreciation for that, that’s what we were there for and that was our goal and our objective at the time.”
Authorities say Ricky Coley, a former auto executive, fired on police, killing officer O’Rourke and sparking a 20-hour standoff that ended when a State Police robot spotted Coley dead in a weapons-strewn bedroom.
Patton said Police said O’Rourke, a 12-year veteran of the force, was one of their best officers — one of the “rocks of the department.”
He said they appreciate the support from the community during these times as they try to come to grips with the tragedy.
“Given the line of work that we do it’s always a possibility, we understand that. But it’s still something that we hope never happens and we’re suffering our way through this, but we will work our way through this,” said Patton.”We’re a very strong department and we’re a very tight department.”
Patton said they had been called to Coley’s house in the past to check on his welfare at his family’s request given his financial troubles, but he’d showed no signs of imminent danger.
An autopsy determined Coley died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Sheriff Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard said Coley’s personal and business life apparently had taken a turn for the worse, and it appears he was geared up for the assault.
“It’s hard for me to connect the dots … Since your life is going in a bad direction, let’s kill other people. I never will understand that as long as I’ve been in this, but that’s the decision he made,” Bouchard said.
Bouchard said the inventory list from the scene is still being compiled, but includes many assault guns, knives, goggles and military binoculars.
As the investigation continues, community leaders, citizens, clergy and police officers will gather Tuesday evening for a candlelight vigil in memory of the fallen officer. It will take place in front of the West Bloomfield Police Department on Walnut Lake Road at 7:45 p.m.
Those wishing to make contributions to support O’Rourke’s children can do so at any branch of Bank of America to the “Officer Patrick O’Rourke Family Trust.”
(Get information on visitation and funeral arrangements here).