West Bloomfield Township Police Officer Patrick O'Rourke
Photo credit: Photo Courtesy of West Bloomfield Township Police Department
Sept. 10--A West Bloomfield Township police officer was shot and killed Sunday night by a gunman still barricaded in a home in the community today.
Patrick O'Rourke, 39, a 12-year veteran officer and a married father of four, was shot as he entered the home on Forest Edge, off Pontiac Trail, at around 10 p.m. Sunday, West Bloomfield Township Police Lt. Timothy Diamond said today.
The sound of helicopters and occasional bursts of apparent gunfire resounded for miles away this morning.
Pontiac Trail near Halsted remains closed. The West Bloomfield school district sent out emails, texts and robo-calls assuring parents that schools were open.
"It's a terrible day," Diamond said.
Five officers responded to the home in the 4000 block of Forest Edge to a call of shots fired inside the home.
"Initially there were other family members there, but they had left before officers arrived," Diamond said. "Officers went into the house and were met with gunfire."
Neighbor Renee Poota, 33, who lives across the street, watched in horror Sunday night as the officer 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."
The officers took O'Rourke to McLaren Hospital in Pontiac, where he was pronounced dead.
"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.
Pontiac Trail near Halsted remains closed as the Oakland County Sheriff's Office special response unit tries to end the situation.
Poota said her neighbor, a man in his 50s, politely waves in passing but she doesn't know him personally. She said he lives at the home with his wife and their son, who is 8 or 9 years old.
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 their home.
"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.
West Bloomfield Township Police Chief Michael Patton is expected to make a statement later today, Diamond said.
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