FENTON — Thousands of , family, and friends packed into Friday morning to remember Patrick O’Rourke for his service and faith.
, was gunned down in the line of duty Sunday night, sending shockwaves throughout Metro Detroit.
Police and fire personnel representing more than 40 departments spilled out from the church and through an overflow tent in which the funeral proceedings were broadcast, out to North Adelaide Street, which was closed in preparation for the event, where others listened to the service over loudspeakers.
, who spoke glowingly of her late husband’s devotion to the church as she held their youngest child, 9-month-old Stephen. She and O’Rourke, who were married at the church in 1998, have four children, Stephen and daughters Eileen, 10; Mary, 8, and Andrea, 5.
Police Chief Michael Patton spoke in tribute of O’Rourke, who he said worked as an undercover police officer in addition to other positions and “did all of them well.”
Patton relayed a story from O’Rourke’s partner undercover, who referred to O’Rourke as “Rudy,” after the true-life football hero who triumphed over adversity to play at the University of Notre Dame.
Patton said that the two engaged in a rivalry after O’Rourke placed a “Jesus fish” bumper sticker on the back of his undercover patrol car. His partner, Patton said, jokingly replaced it with a “Darwin fish” bumper sticker.
“Pat simply took it off and put back on another Jesus fish. His friend took the Jesus fish off and put on another Darwin fish. I don’t know how long that went on for, but eventually the friend gave up. I thought, this in a nutshell is an example of how strong and resilient Pat’s faith was,” Patton said.
“He was our ‘Rudy.’”
Bagpipers led the way from the church to next-door St. John Cemetery, lined by hundreds of police and fire personnel underneath a large American flag propped by a West Bloomfield Fire Department ladder truck. A three-volley salute was fired as family and friends said their final goodbyes to O'Rourke.