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Md. officials identify Riverdale Park officer, man he fatally shot

Riverdale Park officer Chad Sunday fatally shot Bryan Coupal, 75, after authorities say Coupal pointed a gun at police.

A man was shot and killed by a Riverdale Park Police Department officer on Monday afternoon in the 4700 block of Oglethorpe Street. (Jasmine Hilton/The Washington Post)

The Maryland Attorney General’s Office on Thursday released the names of a Riverdale Park Police Department officer and the man he fatally shot during a confrontation at the man’s home earlier this week.

Bryan Coupal, 75, was killed Monday afternoon in his Riverdale Park home after officers were called to investigate the report of a suicidal man who had access to firearms, officials with the Attorney General’s Independent Investigations Division said.

Suicidal man shot, killed by officer in Maryland, police say

The officers spoke with Coupal in the doorway of his home for several minutes, officials said, before the 75-year-old man went into the house and inside a bedroom, where investigators said he pointed a gun at police.

One of those officers, identified as Chad Sunday, shot Coupal.

Coupal was transported to a hospital, officials said, where he was pronounced dead.

Sunday, who has been with Riverdale Park police for two years, was placed on paid administrative leave, the department’s chief and state officials said. The officer has a total of 12 years of law enforcement experience. Efforts to reach him or a representative Thursday were not immediately successful.

The names of Sunday and Coupal were released by the Independent Investigations Division as part of the team’s transparency policies. Assigned by state lawmakers to investigate all deaths in Maryland in which police were involved, the newly established division has created standard protocols for quickly getting information to the public.

The names of involved officers and those who have died are released within 48 hours, the division said. If body-camera footage captured the incident — which authorities say it did in Coupal’s killing — then investigators typically release it within 14 days.

When communities try to hold police accountable, law enforcement fights back

Shortly after the shooting Monday, the Independent Investigations Division took over the case. It could take months for the team to complete its investigative report, which will be delivered to the State’s Attorney’s Office. State lawmakers have given county prosecutors the sole discretion to criminally charge an officer who has killed someone in the line of duty.

Riverdale Park Police Chief Rosa Guixens said that before the Sept. 19 call about the suicidal man, the department had received three other calls for service to the Oglethorpe Street home — all of which she said were unrelated to Coupal.

Guixens said that Monday’s 911 call came from someone outside the home but did not say who made it.

The day after Coupal was killed, the man’s neighbors said they were surprised and saddened to hear he had been killed by police. Coupal, who they knew as “Mr. Bryan,” had lived in the Oglethorpe Street home for decades and was well-known to the residents of the quiet, tree-lined neighborhood.

Resident Schevin Payne said Coupal had retired after a career working for the post office and had spent his later years caring for his brother. Another neighbor said Coupal was friendly and kind and could be seen on the weekend cutting his grass.

“He interacted with all of us,” Payne said. “He was cordial, always nice.”

Efforts by The Washington Post to reach Coupal’s family members were not successful.

Magda Jean-Louis contributed to this report.

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