Jeremy Richman, Father of Victim in 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting, Kills Himself

Jeremy Richman stood with his wife, Jennifer Hensel, as she held a photo of their daughter, Avielle Richman, at the Edmond Town Hall, a movie theater and event space, in Newtown, Conn., in 2013.
Jessica Hill/Associated Press

In the more than six years since his daughter Avielle was killed in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Jeremy Richman had devoted his life to preventing families from experiencing the kind of tragic loss he did.

With his wife, Jennifer Hensel, he created the Avielle Foundation to support research into brain abnormalities that could be linked to violent behavior. In this endeavor, he stressed mental health education and compassion.

“Compassion is the ability to feel somebody else’s suffering, to empathize,” Mr. Richman, a neuroscientist, said in a video for the foundation. “But most importantly, it’s the hope that you can do something to alleviate that suffering.”

On Monday, Mr. Richman, 49, was found dead in an apparent suicide in the Newtown, Conn., building where the Avielle Foundation had an office, the local police said. His death was all the more shocking given the scope of his work, community members said.

“Our hearts are shattered, and our heads are struggling to comprehend,” the foundation said in a statement.

“Tragically, his death speaks to how insidious and formidable a challenge brain health can be and how critical it is for all of us to seek help for ourselves, our loved ones and anyone who we suspect may be in need,” it continued.

The police were called to Edmond Town Hall, a movie theater and event space that also rented offices and meeting rooms, at about 7 a.m. on Monday by contractors who were working there, said Lt. Aaron Bahamonde of the Newtown Police Department.

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SOURCE: The New York Times, Michael Gold and Tyler Pager