May 12, 2004
Wrong place, wrong time, for victim of shooting
Family says O’Rourke victim of circumstance.
The manager of a Mississauga trucking company who was shot to death at his workplace Friday was simply at the wrong time, his family says.
Had 47 years old Michael O’Rourke of Newmarket been in his own office performing his regular job, he would still be alive today, said his younger brother, Marty Murray, 43.
“He was suppose to be in his office at the time he was doing his managerial duties,” the grieving brother said in an interview from his Newmarket home, “But that day, one of the scheduled dispatchers couldn’t come in, so he spent a good part of the morning in (dispatch).”
O’Rourke, a father of two and the general manger at Liquiterminals Ltd., was killed in the company’s dispatch center on Friday morning after the gunman, who is believed to be the former contract employee, opened fire. Two dispatch workers, Jurgen Zimmermann of Dundas and Michael Lloyd Bunney of Brampton, were also shot and are now recovering from their wounds. Both men, believed to be in the mid-50s, are key eyewitnesses to O’Rourke’s slaying, Peel Regional police said.
An Ottawa man, who turned himself in to police after the shooting, remains under a suicide watch in his jail cell. Police have charged 49-year old Jean Delagrave with one count of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder.
Homicide investigators say the triple shooting wasn’t a random act. But they won’t say whether the shooter specifically sought out the three victims.
O’Rourke’s family believes the gunman targeted the company’s dispatch center, but not the victims.
“Anybody involved in the trucking industry knows the dispatch center is the heart. They (dispatchers) are the pilots of the operation,” he said. “You want to make a pointm, you go after the heart.”
Besides, Murray added, “If someone wanted my brother dead, why wouldn’t they go in to his office to hunt him down?”
Peel police would neither confirm nor deny reports the murder was the result of a long standing dispute with the Royal Windsor Dr. Company. Sources say the accused was owned thousands of dollars by the company.
O’Rourke, who had been with the company for 14 years; built Liquiterminals from just three trucks to more then 60 today, his brother said.
Carrie Bunney, the daughter of one of the victims, said her father Mike used a cell phone to call his wife Cheryl seconds after the gunman fled the scene.
“He called to say ‘I’ve been shot,’ and then he said he had to go.” She said. “A police officer phoned later telling us to go to trillium (Health Center). The first thing my father thought was about his family.”
Bunney, also a father of two, is expected to survive his injuries.
At first, the veteran dispatcher believed the entire situation was a joke, his daughter said.
“Since my father knew him (the gunman), he thought the whole thing was fake and the gun was a toy,” Carrie said. “Then it all started. My dad still has no clue why tis happened.”
Meanwhile Gary Batasar, the lawyer representing the accused, said his client will be “vigorously defending” the charges.
“There are several issues that have come up though contacts with his family and people in his profession that tell me there’s more to this then meets the eye,” he said. “These are serious allegations.”