WEST BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A business executive who gunned down a police officer responding to a trouble call at his suburban Detroit house committed suicide, an autopsy found Tuesday.
Ricky Coley, 50, killed himself with a gunshot to the mouth, according to a report by Dr. Cheryl Loewe of the Oakland County medical examiner's office.
Authorities said Coley fired through a wall and door as police approached his room Sunday night, killing Officer Pat O'Rourke and precipitating a 20-hour armed standoff that ended Monday with Coley dead in a weapons-strewn bedroom.
The businessman, who was going through legal and marital turmoil, shot O'Rourke as officers responded to a report of a possible suicide attempt at his home in West Bloomfield Township, authorities said. About 15 families were evacuated from nearby homes during the subsequent standoff.
Coley and his wife had recently divorced and federal authorities filed a lawsuit accusing him of mishandling employees' insurance funds.
West Bloomfield Township police said they were also called to his home about a month ago because he was reportedly suicidal.
Coley owned CNC Holdings, a private equity firm that bought 51 percent interest in Translogic Auto Carriers in 2008. Translogic, an 8-year-old company based in the Michigan Thumb area town of Bad Axe, hauled new vehicles from automakers to dealerships. It had more than 200 drivers and employed dozens of others in the community.
Coley, who had worked for Ford Motor Co. and General Motors, believed he knew what automakers needed, said business partner Lyn Tetreau, who owned the other 49 percent of Translogic.
Under the arrangement with his previous partner, Tetreau had run day-to-day operations of Translogic, while his partner oversaw accounting and finances. But Coley wanted more control, Tetreau said.
"Coley wanted to be involved in everything," Tetreau, 45, told The Associated Press Tuesday. "I was the minority owner. He was the majority. He demanded more so than suggested what we do. Coley and I had a totally different direction. We did a lot of bumping heads."
Tetreau said Coley fired him twice as company president, leading Tetreau to go to court so he could stay in charge of operations.
Meanwhile, the U.S. auto industry was collapsing and the nation was in the Great Recession. By 2010, Translogic would file for bankruptcy, despite Tetreau's putting about a $1 million of his own money into the company.
But Coley appeared to be making money off Translogic even when bills weren't being paid, Tetreau said.
"He put himself on a huge salary, working a couple of days each week while barking out orders," Tetreau said. "Coley was trying to leverage as much capital as he could for himself. Myself and the staff became puppets and he was pulling the strings."
The U.S. Labor Department recently filed a lawsuit accusing Coley of mishandling money that was supposed to cover employee insurance at Translogic. The lawsuit says Coley also transferred $342,000 from Translogic to himself or his affiliates.
GM spokesman Greg Martin said Coley had worked in the automaker's information technology section from 1996 to 2001.
Tetreau said he and his family grieve for O'Rourke, a West Bloomfield officer for 12 years, was married and had four children
A vigil for O'Rourke is planned for Tuesday night outside the West Bloomfield Township police station. A funeral Mass is scheduled for Friday.
"I don't believe what has taken place with Coley was based on his life at Translogic," Tetreau said. "I think he had financial troubles and couldn't get his hands on much cash and was not being able to control his personal life."