NEWTOWN, Connecticut -- The father of one of the 20 children killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was found dead of an apparent suicide inside a Newtown municipal building, authorities confirmed Monday.
Police say 49-year-old Jeremy Richman, the father of Avielle Richman, took his own life at Edmond Town Hall, located on Main Street in Newtown, where he reportedly had an office.
He is the founder of the Avielle Foundation, an organization with the mission of preventing violence and building compassion by seeking a better understanding of brain health.
His body was found by a town worker around 7 a.m. Monday, but it was unclear when the suicide took place.
"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," Newtown police said in a press release.
The Medical Examiner will determine the cause of the death.
"This is a heartbreaking event for the Richman family and the Newtown community as a whole," police Lieuteant Aaron Bahamonde said. "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."
Senator Chris Murphy said Richman "was with me in my office two weeks ago, excited as could be about the Avielle Foundation's latest amazing work."
"My god. This is awful, horrible, devastating news," Murphy tweeted. "Jeremy was a good friend and an unceasing advocate for better research into the brain's violence triggers."
The Avielle Foundation issued the following statement:
"Our hearts are shattered, and our heads are struggling to comprehend. Jeremy 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 through the Avielle Foundation, which he and his wife, Jennifer Hensel, founded after the death of their daughter, Avielle, at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Jeremy was deeply devoted to supporting research into brain abnormalities that are linked to abnormal behavior and to promoting brain health. 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.
Jeremy's mission will be carried on by the many who love him, including many who share the heartache and trauma that he has suffered since December 14, 2012. We are crushed to pieces, but this important work will continue, because, as Jeremy would say, we have to.
As we did six years ago and now must do again today, we ask both the media and the public to give the family the privacy anyone would deserve to begin to process this tragic development."
Richman's death comes just days after the apparent suicides of two Parkland, Florida, area teenagers.
If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.
Father of Sandy Hook shooting victim Avielle Richman found dead of apparent suicide inside Newtown town hall
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