The father of one of the children killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting died by apparent suicide Monday morning at a community center building in Newtown, Connecticut, police said.
Jeremy Richman, 49 ― father of Avielle, a 6-year-old who was among 20 small children killed in the mass shooting ― was found unresponsive at Edmond Town Hall around 7 a.m. Monday. Richman has an office at the building, and he founded the Avielle Foundation there in honor of his daughter.
“This is a heart breaking event for the Richman family and the Newtown Community as a whole,” Newtown Police Lt. Aaron Bahamonde wrote in a Facebook post. “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.”
Connecticut’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner told HuffPost it would not release any details related to Richman’s death until Tuesday afternoon.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) called Richman a “good friend.” He said they had met recently to talk about the Avielle Foundation’s work on “better research into the brain’s violence triggers.”
Richman and his wife, Jennifer Hensel, were leading voices on mental health issues in the wake of the shooting, according to the Hartford Courant. He reportedly hosted an event about vulnerability and courage at Edmond Town Hall earlier this month, which other Sandy Hook families attended.
Richman and Hensel were among the Sandy Hook families who were suing InfoWars host Alex Jones over his claims that the shooting on was a hoax.
The news of Richman’s death comes after two student survivors of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, died by apparent suicide last week.
The family of 19-year-old Sydney Aiello confirmed Friday that she died by suicide after struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder and survivor’s guilt. Aiello was a senior when a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas last year, killing 17 people, including her close friend Meadow Pollack.
A juvenile who was still a student at Stoneman Douglas died by apparent suicide on Saturday night. Police have not released the name of the deceased and have not connected his death to the shooting.
If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HOME to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.