Father who lost daughter in Sandy Hook shooting found dead at his office in apparent suicide
The father of a six-year-old girl, who was shot dead in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, has been found dead from an apparent suicide, according to reports. Authorities said that the body of 49-year-old Jeremy Richman was found in his Connecticut office building on Monday morning.
Richman's daughter Avielle Richman was among those killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre, which claimed lives of 20 children and six other adults. Police said that they were called to Richman's office at the Edmond Town Hall in Connecticut at about 7 am on Monday to investigate reports of a suicide, according to the Daily Mail. Officials said that Richman, who was a mental health advocate, was dead when first responders arrived at the scene of the incident.
Newton Police, in a statement, said: "The death appears to be a suicide, but police will not disclose the method or any other details of the death, only to state the death does not appear to be suspicious." Richman had two more children with his wife Jennifer Hensel after their daughter Avielle was killed in 2012. The 49-year-old's body was taken to the Connecticut State Medical Examiner's office to undergo an autopsy.
Police Lt. Aaron Bahamonde said: "This is a heartbreaking event for the Richman family and the Newtown Community as a whole, the police department's prayers are with the Richman family right now, and we ask that the family be given privacy in this most difficult time."
Reports state that Richman founded and ran the Avielle Foundation, a violence prevention charity, with his wife Jennifer Hensel after his daughter's death. The foundation, which was formulated months after the tragedy, aims to reduce violence and to conduct brain research, probing what leads to violent acts in people. Richman reportedly gave up his job as a researcher at the pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim to dedicate himself to the foundation completely.
In a statement, the foundation said Richman was "a champion father, husband, neuroscientist and, for the past seven years, a crusader on a mission to help uncover the neurological underpinnings of violence. Tragically, his death speaks to how insidious and formidable a challenge brain health can be and how critical it is for all of us to seek help for ourselves, our loved ones and anyone who we suspect may be in need."
The Yale School of Medicine in 2016 had also reportedly honored Richman and Hensel for their advocacy by the psychiatric department. "The brain is just another organ and you don't have to be a neuroscientist to recognize that it can be healthy, it can be unhealthy, and that you need to feel comfortable advocating for your own brain health and the brain health of your loved ones," Richman said back in 2016. "We feel that the failure to do that led in large part to the tragedy at Sandy Hook."
Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy expressed his grief on Monday in a tweet and said that he was devastated about Richman's death. Murphy is an advocate of stricter gun regulations.
"My god. This is awful, horrible, devastating news. Jeremy was a good friend and an unceasing advocate for better research into the brain’s violence triggers. He was with me in my office two weeks ago, excited as could be about the Avielle Foundation’s latest amazing work," Murphy said.
Richman's death is the third suicide in a week which is linked to school shooting massacres. Two teenagers from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland who survived the Florida shooting last year took their own lives. Reports state that one of the teenagers, Sydney Aiello, who graduated last year suffered from survivor's guilt and had been diagnosed with PTSD. The second student has not been publicly identified.