Jeremy Richman, the father of Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting victim Avielle Richman, has died of an apparent suicide, according to police. His death is the third suicide in the past week related to school massacres.
Richman’s friend and associate editor of The Newtown Bee, John Voket, tells Here & Now’s Robin Young that Richman was “a source of light. His heart always seemed so full of love and a desire to just help other people.”
“I am numb,” Voket says. “But I love Jeremy Richman and it's going to take a long time, if ever, for me to be able to really process this.”
Richman’s 6-year-old daughter was among 20 children and six adults killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The tragedy led Richman and his wife, Jennifer, to start the Avielle Foundation, a grassroots organization committed to preventing violence by emphasizing empathy and compassion.
According to the foundation’s website, their mission is two-fold. One facet is to fund “neuroscience research aimed at understanding the brain’s chemistry, structure, and circuits that led to violence and compassion.”
The foundation’s other goal is to educate the community to understand “brain health and neuroscience basics,” along with providing community resources. Voket says one of those resources was Richman’s monthly events at a local theater.
“They were dedicated to … educating the world community about brain health and how they hope that science would be able to help turn the corner in getting an understanding of what makes people do terrible things, so that it could be dealt with or treated before that situation within the individual manifested into action,” Voket says.
Voket says the Richman’s created the Avielle Foundation not to shy away from the massacre that took their young daughter, but rather to use the foundation to “get people to that place where they might be able to begin working toward the good and toward the light.”
“I dare say we just have to think of the good in Jeremy and try to feel that good in our own hearts during these darkest times after learning this news today,” Voket says.
If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting 741741.
This segment aired on March 25, 2019.