The father of a first-grade girl who was killed in the Sandy Hook school shootings died in an apparent suicide Monday morning, Newtown Police confirmed.
Jeremy Richman, 49, was found dead at 7 a.m. inside Edmond Town Hall, where he had an office space, police told The Daily Beast. Authorities said the medical examiner’s office is still investigating the exact cause of death.
A neuropharmacologist, Richman co-founded the Avielle Foundation after his first-grade daughter, Avielle Richman, died in the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The 6-year-old was among the 20 first-grade students and six administrators killed.
“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,” Lt. Aaron Bahamonde said in a statement. “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 suspicious.”
In a later statement, Bahamonde said that some of the officers called to Monday’s scene also responded to the Sandy Hook shooting. The officers found a note next to Richman’s body, he added.
Richman and his wife, Jennifer Hensel, created the Avielle Foundation, which was dedicated to funding research into the neuroscience behind compassion and violence.
In a 2017 interview with NPR, Richman talked about the emptiness the couple felt after they lost their only child. “It was like a ghost limb syndrome, you know, where you keep thinking ‘Where’s Avielle? Do we need to pick her up?’” he said. “And every day you’d have this [realization] that I don’t have a child, and I don’t have to parent. That was just brutal.”
Richman and Hensel ultimately had two more children.
In another 2017 interview with the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, Richman talked about how each new mass shooting roiled his emotions.