Jeremy Richman, the father of a Sandy Hook school shooting victim, was found dead on Monday after an apparent suicide, police in Newtown, Connecticut say.
Richman, 49, was found at his office in Edmond Town Hall in Newtown, the Hartford Courant reports.
Richman's 6-year-old daughter, Avielle Richman, was one of the 26 children and educators killed in the December. 14, 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
No other details surrounding Richman's death were available. Police said an autopsy is expected to be performed on Monday.
Newtown Police Lt. Aaron Bahamonde called Richman's death a "heartbreaking event" for the Richman family and Newtown community, adding that "the police department prayers are with the Richman family."
"My god. This is awful, horrible, devastating news," Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, tweeted on Monday morning. "Jeremy was a good friend and an unceasing advocate for better research into the brain's violence triggers."
He continued, saying that Richman "was with me in my office two weeks ago, excited as could be about the Avielle Foundation's latest amazing work."
The Avielle Foundation is a nonprofit organization that Richman and wife Jennifer Hensel founded after Avielle's murder to prevent violence and build "compassion through brain research, community engagement, and education."
Richman left his job as a researcher at the pharmeceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim to dedicate himself to the Avielle Foundation.
He hosted an event earlier this month at Edmond Town Hall with a researcher focused on vulnerability and courage. He spoke last week at Florida Atlantic University's 2019 Violence Summit.
"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," said Newtown First Selectman Daniel Rosenthal in a statement. "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."
Just minutes after leaving a forum about gun violence in schools, Sen. Richard Blumenthal was told of Richman's death.
"My heart breaks for this family, which has already endured so much," he said. "This is a gut punch. I came to know his family after Sandy Hook, I attended the funeral. My prayers go out to them."
If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.
Photo credit: Portland Press Herald / Contributor / Getty