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The father of a Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre victim was found dead in Newtown, Connecticut, on Monday in what police are calling an apparent suicide.
Jeremy Richman, 49, a neuropharmacologist, was discovered at Edmond Town Hall on Newtown's Main Street by officers responding to a report of a suicide at 7 a.m., according to the Newtown Police Department.
Richman's daughter, Avielle, was among the 20 first-graders and six adults killed during the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre, police confirmed.
He was the founder of the Avielle Foundation, which aims "to prevent violence through brain health research and fostering community." The nonprofit is housed in Edmond Town Hall.
“Our hearts are shattered, and our heads are struggling to comprehend," said an Avielle Foundation statement.
"Jeremy was deeply devoted to supporting research into brain abnormalities that are linked to abnormal behavior and to promoting brain health," the statement said. "Tragically, his death speaks to how insidious and formidable a challenge brain health can be. ... We are crushed to pieces, but this important work will continue, because, as Jeremy would say, we have to."
Richman and his wife were among the families who sued right-wing radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, alleging he had defamed them by repeatedly claiming that the Sandy Hook 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," Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., wrote on Twitter. "He was with me in my office two weeks ago, excited as could be about the Avielle Foundation’s latest amazing work."
Newtown Police Department Lt. Aaron Bahamonde called Richman's death "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," he added.
Edmond Town Hall closed early Monday, according to a statement from managers and staff.
"Dr. Richman was a well-respected and beloved member of the Edmond Town Hall family. We are deeply saddened by his passing," the statement said.
Richman’s death comes a little over a week after Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivor Sydney Aiello killed herself. Officials said Sunday that a second student from the school died in what police are calling an apparent suicide.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.