Neighbors recall time with West Bloomfield police officer minutes before his death
Updated On: Sep 11 2012 10:57:37 PM EDT
Moments before West Bloomfield police officer Patrick O'Rourke was killed Sunday night when a man opened fire on Forest Edge Lane, he raced to save the lives of others.
O'Rourke rushed to warn neighbors on either side of the house that the shooter, Rickey Coley, lived in. He warned of danger.
"Instinctively I had a bad feeling," said Jeannie Zimballatti. "I felt I should have said be careful. About 30 minutes later we heard the gunshots."
Read more: Man's rampage leads to officer's death
Police say Coley fired shots which struck and killed O'Rourke. Zimballatti says O'Rourke saved her life when he helped guide her to an armored vehicle.
Once she was safe and away from danger, she learned there had been an officer shot and killed. Zimballatti was devastated to learn it was officer O'Rourke.
"It's been a lot of conflicted emotions because officer O'Rourke's last encounter with me was to make sure we were safe, and just to know that he lost his life soon after is kind of painful," said Zimballatti.
Other neighbors also received a warning Sunday night from O'Rourke. He offered a sense of calm during the chaotic situation.
"I walked out the house. Within 5 seconds I heard 10-12 shots. I said, 'Lord, God, let no one be hurt,'" said Najib Ayar, who lives nearby. "I heard someone call officer down."