A recently divorced executive accused of mishandling employees’ insurance funds fired on police at his home in a wealthy Detroit, Mich., suburb, killing one officer and precipitating a 20-hour armed standoff that ended with the suspect dead in a weapons-strewn bedroom.
“It’s been a very long night, a very long day,” West Bloomfield Township Supervisor Michele Economou Ureste said on the evening of Sept. 10 after the discovery of 50-year-old Ricky Coley’s body.
Police had been surrounding Coley’s home since the previous night, when Officer Pat O’Rourke was shot to death while responding to a report of a possible suicide attempt or medical emergency at Coley’s home.
Police used construction equipment to tear a hole in a second-floor wall of the home, then sent in a robot that found Coley’s body on a bed surrounded by knives and other weapons, Ureste said.
It was not immediately clear if Coley had killed himself, said police Lt. Tim Diamond.
During the standoff, police and Coley exchanged hundreds of rounds of gunfire, Ureste said. About 15 families were evacuated from nearby homes.
Police sent a team about 10 p.m. Sunday after receiving a 911 call alerting them that Coley had tried to kill himself or needed medical attention, Diamond said. Officers called Coley’s name as they climbed the stairs to the second floor and were met by gunshots, Diamond said.
O’Rourke, 39, was among four or five officers in that team. He was killed when shots were fired through a bedroom door and wall, police said.
Coley was alone in the house in the afternoon and the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department had tried “to persuade this guy into a peaceful resolution,” Diamond said.
Records show Coley headed a private equity company, CNC Holdings.
The U.S. Labor Department recently filed a lawsuit accusing Coley of mishandling money that was supposed to cover employee insurance at a Bad Axe, Mich., trucking company, Translogic Auto Carriers, which has been controlled by CNC since 2008.
The lawsuit says Coley also transferred $342,000 from Translogic to himself or his affiliates. Creditors forced Translogic into bankruptcy court in 2010.
Diamond said relatives called 911 and fled Coley’s home on Sept. 9 after hearing shots.
O’Rourke, a West Bloomfield officer for 12 years, was married and had four children. In a memo to fellow officers, Lt. Curt Lawson said a “scene can turn in unexpected ways,” despite the best training and preparation.
West Bloomfield is a high-income community of 65,000, about 15 miles northwest of Detroit.
Associated Press writers David Runk, Ed White, Tom Krisher and David N. Goodman in Detroit contributed to this report.