The community this week is mourning the death of a Milford police officer who took his own life early Monday morning.
Michael Compare, 36, was outgoing and very generous: He had a huge smile, friends said.
“He gave everything he had to other people,” said Audra Napolitano, who knew Compare since they were young.
They both attended Jonathan Law High School: Compare graduated in 1996. As adults, they’ve both been living in the same area of Walnut Beach.
“He liked to go running with his black lab on the boardwalk at the beach,” Napolitano said.
She said her friends and relatives, who also grew up with Compare and knew him well, were shocked and saddened by the news that he shot and killed himself at his Walnut Beach home early Monday morning.
Local police also expressed their sadness.
“On behalf of Chief Keith L. Mello and the Milford Police Department, this day is a tragic loss for the family, friends and community Michael belonged to and so proudly served,” Police Spokesman Jeff Nielsen said in a prepared statement. “We thank you for your kind words and support regarding Michael. Michael will be greatly missed.”
Compare, who had been on the Milford force for three years, was found on June 22 at approximately 12:30 a.m. after the Milford Police Department received a call regarding an untimely death at 43 Naugatuck Avenue.
Compare received medical treatment at the scene and was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead by medical personnel.
By mid-afternoon, the State of Connecticut Medical Examiner’s Office had determined that Compare died of a “self-inflicted gunshot wound.”
Compare was an athlete who took part in triathlons, most notably one in 2013 in honor of a young victim of the Sandy Hook shootings.
Along with other officers, Compare assisted officers in Newtown after the shootings by covering their patrols, assisting in escorts and security details around their town. It was that assistance that made him want to take part in the sporting event in honor of Chase Kowalski, one of the young victims.
Compare had competed in several marathons, half-marathons, triathlons and completed his first Ironman triathlon in Louisville, Ky., in August 2012.
Just the day before his death, on Father's Day, his Facebook posting saluted his own father, a retired Milford police officer, for helping him succeed in many “races.”
“Happy Father's Day to a man that helped me cross many finish lines and was always there to cheer me on,” the posting states. “We have been through many 'races' together in this life, some up hill and some on nice flat roads, but I couldn't ask for a better Dad and I look forward to crossing many more 'finish lines' with you Dad.”