A robot is loaded into an armored personnel carrier as police shut down traffic on Pontiac Trail after a suspect who shot and killed a West Bloomfield police officer and then barricaded himself in a home on the 4000 block of Forest Edge in West Bloomfield, Mich., Monday, Sept. 10, 2012. / ANDRE J. JACKSON/ Detroit Free Press
Left to right: Patrick O'Rourke is shown in this family photo along with daughters Mary and Andrea, son Stephen, daughter Eileen and his wife, Amy. Patrick O'Rourke, a police officer, was killed by a barricaded gunman late Sunday in West Bloomfield Township. Whimsical Photography by Carmela Stocker
WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mich. (Detroit Free Press) - Monday was supposed to be the day Ricky Nelson Coley moved on with his life.
Out of work, thousands of dollars in debt, facing a federal lawsuit and forced to leave his family's 4,000-square-foot West Bloomfield home as part of his divorce settlement, Coley was moving back down South.
"His family had apparently come from North Carolina to help him move back to North Carolina," West Bloomfield Police Lt. Timothy Diamond said Monday. "And then he decided he wasn't going to go."
That decision Sunday night led to a nearly 20-hour standoff with police that ended Monday evening with Coley, 50, and West Bloomfield Police Officer Patrick O'Rourke, 39, dead -- and a normally quiet neighborhood shaken.
"It's a terrible day," Diamond said.
Najab Ayar, who lives next door to the home in the 4000 block of Forest Edge, off Pontiac Trail, described Coley as a "family man" who was having family issues and possibly financial problems.
"I would not believe he would do such a thing. I would not even dream it," Ayar said. "I saw (his ex-wife) on the street last night and said, 'Have you talked to him?' She just said 'No.' She said, 'Too many problems.' That's all she said."
Family members called police about 10 p.m. Sunday when Coley fired a single shot in his bedroom, despondent over his divorce, Diamond said.
Those family members reportedly fled the home, and several officers responded to the call for help. O'Rourke, a father of four young children who started as a cadet in 1997 and became a police officer in 2000, was among them.
"Typically, if you only hear one shot, generally somebody has committed suicide," Diamond said. "(The officers) thought they were going in to render aid."
The officers approached the second-floor bedroom where the shots reportedly came from. O'Rourke of Fenton was standing outside the room when shots blasted through the door and wall, striking him, Diamond said. He did not say what kind of weapon was used.
The four other officers with O'Rourke were able to get him out of the house and to McLaren Hospital in Pontiac, where he was pronounced dead. A news release from the township on Monday said O'Rourke was "the first police officer in the community's history to fall in the line of duty."
Coley was determined to stay and barricaded himself inside the home. Throughout the day, police waited him out and tried to coax him out of the home, at one point sending in robots with video cameras to survey the scene, only to have Coley shoot at them.
Police briefly exchanged gunfire with Coley on Monday morning, and they brought in an armored personnel carrier and a crane by the afternoon to gain entry into the home after communication with Coley failed to end the situation.
A Michigan State Police robot picked up images of Coley lying motionless in the bed, Diamond said. Police pulled the armored carrier to the front of the house, while the crane clawed away at the outside wall of the second-floor bedroom.
Just after 6 p.m., Diamond announced that members of the Oakland County Sheriff's Office's Special Response Team had found Coley dead. It was unclear how Coley died, Diamond said. An autopsy was scheduled for today.
Coley was wearing white goggles and surrounded by knives and other weapons, according to West Bloomfield Supervisor Michele Economou Ureste.
"It's going to take many hours to process the scene," she said, noting that police believe Coley was alone in the house.
The Sheriff's Office is investigating.
Online court records indicate Coley's wife, Deniece Coley, sued for divorce in Oakland County in June. The divorce was finalized Sept. 4.
According to court documents, Deniece Coley moved out of the family's home June 12.
The couple, who were married in Pontiac in November 1998, have a 7-year-old son. As part of the divorce judgment, Deniece Coley was awarded sole custody of the boy, and Ricky Coley was ordered to pay $190 per week until the boy turns 18. The 4,037-square-foot house was awarded to Deniece Coley and has been listed for sale at www.trulia.com for an estimated $573,000.
Deniece Coley said in her filing that her husband physically attacked her June 12 and that he had threatened to take their son. She said that he had been unfaithful and was under psychological counseling.
She also said in the complaint that her husband had not worked for the past three years "though physically and otherwise qualified to work," noting that Ricky Coley had a bachelor's degree in engineering and an MBA.
And Ricky Coley faced more than just trouble at home.
He was sued by Hilda Solis, U.S. secretary of labor, in federal court in Bay City in August, accused of transferring $341,946 from a company, Translogic Auto Carriers, that CNC Holdings had acquired a controlling interest in in 2008 to himself or his affiliates.
Ricky Coley's LinkedIn social networking page lists him as chairman emeritus and the former private equity executive director for CNC Holdings.
Federal court documents show that Translogic Auto Carriers, which ceased operations in 2010, had been withholding money from its employees' paychecks during this period, but failed to send the money to an employee dental, vision and life insurance plan that was ultimately canceled.
More than $17,313 in employee claims were denied.
In 2010, Coley also had been ordered to pay more than $88,175 for defaulting on two credit agreements.
And in 2003, DIRECTV sued Coley in federal court, claiming he had been involved in the manufacture, sale or distribution of devices allowing unauthorized users to access the company's programming. In 2004, an order was signed permanently barring Coley from such activities.
According to what appears to be his Facebook page, Coley was born in Goldsboro, N.C., studied industrial and systems engineering at Georgia Tech University in Atlanta, received an MBA at Queens University of Charlotte, and attended the North Carolina Central University School of Law in Durham.
Coley's LinkedIn page says he had worked for Ford until January 2008 as North American plants operations manager/director, and that he had worked for UPS and General Motors.
The page also says he was a 2nd lieutenant in the Army's Infantry Reserve, serving in Charlotte, and a specialist 4th class/corporal-nuclear artillery in Augsburg, formerly West Germany.
The reported postings on Coley's education, work and military experience could not be immediately confirmed by the Free Press.
Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon expressed his condolences Monday and offered sympathy and prayers to the family of O'Rourke, his colleagues and friends.
"To learn that a veteran officer has been lost saddens us all to the core because we know he selflessly made the greatest sacrifice," Napoleon said in a statement. "My prayers go out to his loved ones and friends."
Elton Black & Son funeral home in Highland Township was to handle arrangements for O'Rourke.
Diamond said counselors have been working since Sunday night with the township's police officers, fire department personnel and dispatchers involved in the situation.
"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.
Ureste said it would be a long night for police officers and called it a "very tragic day for the township."
Contact Tammy Stables Battaglia: 313-949-7291 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @tammyµbattaglia. Staff writer John Wisely contributed to this report.
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