Father of 6-year-old Sandy Hook shooting victim dies in apparent suicide

Elise Solé
Police in Newtown, Conn., confirmed the death of Jeremy Richman, the father of Avielle Richman, who died in the 2012 Sandy Hook school shootings at the age of 6. Police say the death appears to be from suicide. (Photo: Getty Images)

The father of a child killed in the Sandy Hook school shootings was found dead in an apparent suicide, according to police.

On Facebook on Monday, the Newtown Police Department in Connecticut announced the death of Jeremy Richman, 49, the father of Avielle Richman, 6, who died in the Dec. 14, 2012 massacre. Twenty children and six adults were murdered when 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot up Sandy Hook Elementary School, then later died by a self-inflicted gunshot.  

“On March 25, 2019, at approximately 7am, Newtown Police with the Newtown Ambulance Service, Newtown Hook & Ladder Fire Dept. were dispatched to the Edmond Town Hall located at 45 Main Street to investigate the report of a suicide,” wrote the department. “Upon arrival police with paramedics found Jeremy Richman, age 49, of Newtown deceased. Police with the State of Connecticut Medical Examiner’s Office are investigating the cause of death. 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 to appear to be suspicious.”

Richman’s body is at the Connecticut State Medical Examiner’s office for an autopsy and results may be released on Monday. Police said that Richman, the founder of the Avielle Foundation, worked from an office at the Edmund Town Hall.

“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 the Facebook post.

According to the Hartford Courant, Richman was found on Monday morning by a building electrician. “There are no words to describe the tragic weight of today’s news. Jeremy Richman was a loving husband, father and friend to many. I am proud to say he was my friend,” Daniel Rosenthal, Newtown First Selectman, told the Hartford Courant. “I don’t want to speculate as to why Jeremy took his life, except to say none of us can fathom the enormity of loss he carried with him after the death of his beautiful daughter, Avielle.”

According to the Avielle Foundation, which funded research into the neuroscience behind violent behavior, the little girl had “a spitfire personality and a love of laughter.” She loved Barbie dolls,  superheroes and walking barefoot, and even created an alter-ego named Bombs Galore. “When asked what she wanted to be when she grew up,” read the bio, “Avielle would reply that she wanted to be an artist… and a spy…oh, and a fairy princess, and a writer.” 

Jeremy Richman, the father of Avielle Richman (pictured) who died with her classmates in the Sandy Hook gun massacre in 2012, has reportedly died of suicide. (Photo: Facebook/Jeremy Richman)

In May, Richman and his family joined others in suing conservative Infowars radio host Alex Jones for defamation, after Jones claimed the Sandy Hook school shooting was a hoax.

My god. This is awful, horrible, devastating news. Jeremy was a good friend and an unceasing advocate for better research into the brain’s violence triggers,” tweeted Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut on Monday. “He was with me in my office two weeks ago, excited as could be about the Avielle Foundation’s latest amazing work.”

Last week, Sydney Aiello, 19, who survived the 2018 Parkland shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., died by suicide. Her mother reportedly said the teen struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder and survivor’s guilt. On Saturday night, the Coral Springs Police Department in Florida said an another teenage Parkland survivor, who was not publicly identified, died from an “apparent suicide.” 

If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

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