According to the Newtown Police Department, Richman’s body was discovered at 7 a.m. Monday morning close to his office.
“This is a heartbreaking event for the Richman family and the Newtown Community as a whole,” said Lt. Aaron Bahamonde. “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.”
His tragic death follows that of his 6-year-old daughter Avielle, who was one of the 26 victims murdered in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre.
Following the infamous elementary school shooting, Richman, a neuropharmacologist by profession, was a prominent voice for violence prevention.
In the wave of his grief, the heartbroken father founded the Avielle Foundation, an organization that aims “to prevent violence through brain health research and fostering community.”
The nonprofit is located in Edmond Town Hall, where Richman’s was found dead on Monday.
“Our hearts are shattered, and our heads are struggling to comprehend,” the Avielle Foundation wrote in a statement. “Jeremy was deeply devoted to supporting research into brain abnormalities that are linked to abnormal behavior and to promoting brain health. Tragically, his death speaks to how insidious and formidable a challenge brain health can be.”
The 49-year-old was incredibly passionate about investing in the study of the brain in an effort to shed light on mental health.
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. He was with me in my office two weeks ago, excited as could be about the Avielle Foundation’s latest amazing work. https://t.co/xhy89JlXG8
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) March 25, 2019
“Just like resources were poured into landing a man on the moon and exploring outer space, we need to invest in exploring our inner space,” Richman once said.
In the years following the Sandy Hook tragedy, Richman very openly spoke about his pain and the shooting in vivid detail. He hoped that in doing so, he could make people “feel the scale of the horror” and motivate them to effect change.
“I want people to hear the reality of it,” he said. “I want people to know that [the victims] were brutally blown apart with a large gun.”
He also explained that the weight of his grief made him feel like he’d “get spun right off the planet.”
For Richman, the many subsequent shootings that would come after Sandy Hook hit like a ton of bricks.
“We would just bawl,” he shared. “It would just hit us so hard.”
But over time, that sadness turned into anger at the lack of action and protective measures being taken.
“I feel like we’re letting it happen,” said Richman as his frustration grew. “There are things that could be done that aren’t being done.”
According to the Avielle Foundation, “Jeremy’s mission will be carried on by the many who love him, including many who share the heartache and trauma that he has suffered since December 14, 2012. We are crushed to pieces, but this important work will continue, because, as Jeremy would say, we have to.”
If you or someone you know is thinking about harming yourself/themselves or attempting suicide, reach out to someone who can help right away. Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK to be connected to a trained counselor at a suicide crisis center nearest you.