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Community Gathers at Candlelight Vigil for Slain Officer

West Bloomfield Police Officer Patrick O'Rourke died in the line of duty Sunday night.

Religious leaders from diverse backgrounds around West Bloomfield offered prayer and thanks to a crowd of approximately 1,500 a candlelight vigil Tuesday night in honor of .

The and father of four whose family were in attendance to hear from religious leaders of Jewish, Muslim, and Christian faiths at the event organized by township officials and the West Bloomfield Clergy Association.

O'Rourke was killed Sunday night in the line of duty by a man barricaded in his home at the North Woods Forest subdivision near the intersection of Halsted and Pontiac Trail. , was found dead Monday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after a lengthy standoff with police.

"I don’t mean to be flippant, but if you could clone someone and make more police officers, you would clone Pat O'Rourke," Police Chief Michael Patton said after the service. "He’s just that epitome of that big, rugged guy you would want as a police officer. Rarely, if ever a complaint ... it's a tremendous loss for all of us." 

Officers representing municipalities from as far as away as Detroit, Eastpointe and Ann Arbor came to show their support, along with officers from several surrounding areas. Patton added that in such a time of grief for officers, it was important to let someone else take the lead.

"It was a moment for them to minister to all of us and to give us some comfort and some support for what we’re all going through right now," Patton said.

O'Rourke's widow, Amy, and their three young daughters — Eileen, Mary and Andrea — and infant son Stephen attended the service, along with several other members of O'Rourke’s family.

In response to a Civic Center Drive which was packed with cars and news trucks, grievers parked at nearby subdivisions and schools, walking as far away as a quarter of a mile to attend the service.

Once there, they made in support of O'Rourke's family, clutched candles, and spoke along with religious leaders.

"Hope is arising around each one of us, for it is the hope that comes in knowing that no matter what ... nothing will stop goodness from coming into our hearts," said Fr. Ron Jozwiak of . "Nothing will stop us from loving one another. And everything we will do in our power now is to have faith in humankind. To restore our community to grace. To take care of one another."

Rabbi Norman Roman of spoke in support of O'Rourke's 12 years of service in West Bloomfield. "Dear God, we thank you for the lives that were issued from him and the deeds that he performed to benefit protect all of us in this community," he said.

Victor Begg of the Muslim Unity Center in Bloomfield Hills said that while O'Rourke had passed, he had left behind a lot for which to be grateful.

"He was a gentle soul. ... What's left behind? His memories. His words. His deeds."

Judy Herman September 12, 2012 at 11:26 AM
I am still shocked over this senseless tragedy and loss for our community. But, the candlelight vigil is a beautiful tribute to officer O'rourke and WB's resilience.
Beth Ayers September 12, 2012 at 01:05 PM
May the road rise to meet you, May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, The rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of his hand. May God be with you and bless you; May you see your children's children. May you be poor in misfortune, Rich in blessings, May you know nothing but happiness From this day forward. May the road rise to meet you May the wind be always at your back May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home And may the hand of a friend always be near. May green be the grass you walk on, May blue be the skies above you, May pure be the joys that surround you, May true be the hearts that love you.
Jayne M. September 12, 2012 at 04:46 PM
My prayers to the family and friends of Office O'Rouke. His loss is so sad.
Chris Milia September 12, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Civic Center TV is cablecasting coverage of the Vigil hourly through Friday. CVTV is on Comcast channels 19 & 915 and AT&T channel 99. The vigil is also available for on-demand viewing at the CVTV website, www.civiccentertv.com.
Timothy Rath (Editor) September 12, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Thanks for the info, Chris!

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