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Father of Sandy Hook victim found dead in apparent suicide, Newtown police say

Dylan Stableford
Senior Editor

The father of one of the children killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings was found dead Monday of an apparent suicide in Newtown, Conn., police there said.

The body of 49-year-old Jeremy Richman, the father of Avielle Richman, was found inside Edmond Town Hall early Monday. Police responded to a report of a suicide around 7 a.m. ET. According to the Newtown Bee, he was reportedly found in the stage area of the building, which was undergoing renovations.

Jeremy Richman, father of Sandy Hook shooting victim Avielle Richman, addresses the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission in Newtown, Conn., in 2014. (Photo: Jessica Hill/AP)

Newtown Police said Richman’s body was transported to the Connecticut medical examiner’s office for an autopsy. While the cause of death remains under investigation, it appears to be a suicide, police said.

“This is a heartbreaking event for the Richman family and the Newtown community as a whole,” Newtown Police Lt. Aaron Bahamonde said in a statement. “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.”

Jeremy Richman weeps as he and his wife, Jennifer Hensel, watch a video of their daughter, Avielle, in 2014. (Photo: Jessica Hill/AP)

Richman’s apparent suicide follows the deaths in the last week of two teenage survivors of the deadly 2018 shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

On March 17, Sydney Aiello, a 19-year-old graduate of Marjory Stoneman, died in an apparent suicide, her family and friends said. Aiello, who was a senior at the school when the shooting occurred, was friends with Meadow Pollack, one of 17 who died in the Feb. 14, 2018, massacre. On Saturday, police in Coral Springs, Fla., said they were investigating an apparent suicide involving a current student at the school. According to the Miami Herald, the victim was a sophomore boy.

Avielle Richman, 6, was one of 20 children killed on Dec. 14, 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Jeremy Richman, a neuroscientist, and his wife launched a charitable foundation in Avielle’s memory to “fund research exploring the underpinnings of the brain that lead to violent behaviors.”

“My wife Jennifer and I are infinitely heart broken,” he wrote on the foundation’s website. “In the years since the murder of our beautiful six year old daughter, our heartbreak has been repeated with hundreds of school shootings in the United States, not to mention the daily occurrences of homicide and suicide on our streets and in our homes.”

Families of some of the Sandy Hook victims join President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in making a statement on gun violence in the Rose Garden in 2013. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

“We miss Avielle more each and every day, and like so many of you, we want to bring about changes to stop this epidemic of violence,” he added. “We want to prevent tragedies like these from happening to any community — ever again.”

Richman spoke about the foundation and Avielle's memory at Florida Atlantic University in Jupiter, Fla., last week.

He said that on the morning of the shootings, he had planned to take Avielle to see the “Christmas Spectacular” show at Radio City Music Hall, but that she wanted to go to school to build a gingerbread house.

“I put her on the bus and said goodbye, expecting to just go back into the school a couple hours from then,” Richman said. “She was one of the 20 kids murdered in the classrooms, and six educators, and that changed everything.”

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