Patrick O'Rourke may be gone, but the West Bloomfield Police Officer's memory lives on in the hearts and minds of his family, friends and co-workers.
Two-and-a-half months since Patrick O'Rourke, a 39-year-old husband and father of four, of Fenton, was shot and killed by a barricaded gunman, Amy O'Rourke, Patrick's widow, said that she forgives the shooter.
Police said that Ricky Coley, 50, of West Bloomfield, had been ordered out of his house as part of a divorce settlement and faced financial troubles before he began shooting. Some 20 hours later, Patrick O'Rourke's permanently-impacted police department ended the standoff by announcing Coley had shot himself.
Amy O'Rourke said that she could empathize with Coley, who left behind an elementary-school aged son: "I'm sad that he got to that point in his life where he felt so lost," she told the Free Press.
The deeply-Catholic O'Rourke family approaches the holiday season continuing to share regular missives through a Facebook page created in Patrick's memory shortly after his death, including mention of his department number: 55. Amy O'Rourke said that the family sees it frequently, reminding them of Patrick's pride and the loneliness that he left behind.
The Oakland County Sheriff's Office and West Bloomfield police are still reviewing what happened that September night. Lt. Tim Diamond said that the six officers involved have received counseling and went back to work.
Patrick O'Rourke was retroactively promoted to Sergeant Oct. 1.
Various fundraisers are scheduled through the holiday season to benefit the family and aid the West Bloomfield Honor Guard, so that they may honor O'Rourke in Washington D.C. for ceremonies taking place during Police Week, in May 2013:
- The Detroit Red Wings Alumni Association, together with the Joe Kocur Foundation for Children and the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety organized a charity hockey game Dec. 21 in Plymouth to benefit the O'Rourke family. Tickets are $20. For more information, click here: Detroit Red Wings Alumni Benefit Game for Officer O'Rourke family
- The Honor Guard hosts a tailgate party at the New Hudson Inn (56870 Grand River Ave., New Hudson) from 12 noon-8 p.m. Dec. 21 featuring games, prizes and food during the Detroit Lions NFL game. Tickets are $5-$20 and proceeds will support a trip to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. so that they may honor O'Rourke.