Sandy Hook Victim’s Father Dies in Apparent Suicide in Newtown – The New York Times
The father of a Sandy Hook school shooting victim was found dead in an apparent suicide in Newtown, Conn., on Monday morning, the local police said.
Jeremy Richman, 49, was found dead at Edmond Town Hall, a movie theater and event space in Newtown, at about 7 a.m., according to Lt. Aaron Bahamonde of the Newtown Police Department.
Mr. Richman was the father of Avielle Richman, one of the 20 children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. Some of the police officers who reported to the scene of his death on Monday also responded to that shooting, Lieutenant Bahamonde said.
“This is devastating to our community,” Lieutenant Bahamonde said. “I can’t stress that enough.”
Following Avielle’s death, Mr. Richman and his wife, Jennifer Hensel, created the Avielle Foundation, a nonprofit focused on neuroscience research, with the goal of “exploring the underpinnings of the brain that lead to violent behaviors,” according to the foundation’s website. The foundation had an office in Edmond Town Hall, where Mr. Richman was found dead.
The police were called to the building on Monday morning by contractors who were working there, Lieutenant Bahamonde said. When they arrived, the police also found a note left by Mr. Richman. Lieutenant Bahamonde did not disclose what the note said.
The police and the state’s medical examiner’s office were investigating the death, Lieutenant Bahamonde said.
Mr. Richman, a neuropharmacologist, earned a doctorate from the University of Arizona in 1992. He also had an appointment as a faculty lecturer in psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine. In 2016, Yale’s Department of Psychiatry honored Mr. Richman and Ms. Hensel with its Research Advocacy Award.
Mr. Richman and Ms. Hensel were among the Sandy Hook families who had filed lawsuits against the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, the host of Infowars, a radio show and website. Mr. Jones has maintained that the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax.
The lawsuit involving Mr. Richman and Ms. Hensel claims that Mr. Jones embarked on a campaign of “abusive and outrageous false statements in which Jones and the other defendants have developed, amplified and perpetuated claims that the Sandy Hook massacre was staged and that the 26 families who lost loved ones that day are paid actors who faked their relatives’ deaths.”
On Twitter, Senator Christopher S. Murphy, the Connecticut Democrat who has emerged as a powerful voice against gun violence, called Mr. Richman’s death “devastating.”
“Jeremy was a good friend and an unceasing advocate for better research into the brain’s violence triggers,” Mr. Murphy wrote. “He was with me in my office two weeks ago, excited as could be about the Avielle Foundation’s latest amazing work.”
The news of Mr. Richman’s death came shortly after two students who survived last year’s school shooting in Parkland, Fla., also died in apparent suicides.
In response to Mr. Richman’s death, the town of Newtown, the Police Department and the school system were planning to bring in mental health professionals to help the community grieve, Lieutenant Bahamonde said.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Richman is survived by two children, Imogen and Owen.
[If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). You can find a list of additional resources at SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources.]