BELMAR, NJ — The father of Avielle Richman, the 6-year-old Sandy Hook School victim whose name lives on at the Belmar Elementary School playground, has died of an apparent suicide, according to law enforcement officials in Newtown, Conn.
The body of Jeremy Richman, 49, was found by police on March 25 in an office building where he ran the Avielle Foundation, a nonprofit organization he and wife Jennifer founded after their daughter was among 26 children and educators shot and killed at the Sandy Hook school in 2012.
A neuroscientist, Richman established the foundation "to prevent violence through brain health research and fostering community.” In a statement following his death, the foundation said its work will continue “because, as Jeremy would say, we have to.”
“Jeremy was deeply devoted to supporting research into brain abnormalities that are linked to abnormal behavior and to promoting brain health,” the statement continued. “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 loves ones and anyone we suspect may be in need.”
The 20-year-old Sandy Hook shooter, who has since taken his own life, killed his mother at her home before going on his killing spree at the school on December 14, 2012.
At Belmar Elementary School, the playground was built in Avielle’s memory in 2013 by the Where Angels Play Foundation. A project funded by the New Jersey Firemen’s Mutual Benevolent Association, the foundation put in 26 playgrounds in communities ravaged by Superstorm Sandy in October 2012 to remember those who died in the Sandy Hook shooting only six weeks later.
Richman’s death comes a day after a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, who survived the mass shooting at that Parkland, Fla., on February 14, 2018, died in what police are calling an apparent suicide and a week after another survivor who graduated from the school also took her life, police said.
A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to support the Avielle Foundation and to carry on Richman’s legacy.