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Police Probe Untimely Death At Edmond Town Hall



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UPDATE (Monday, March 25, 11:10 am): This story has been updated to include the name of the victim as announced by Newtown Police Department, and statements from First Selectman Daniel Rosenthal and the Edmond Town Hall Board of Directors.

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Town police are investigating a suicide discovered on the stage at approximately 7 am Monday, March 25, in the main auditorium at Edmond Town Hall at 45 Main Street.

Newtown Police a few hours later announced that upon arrival, police and paramedics found a 49-year old male. Police have identified the man as Jeremy Richman, PhD, of Sandy Hook.

Police, Newtown Hook & Ladder volunteer firefighters, Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps, and the regional paramedic were among those who responded to the town hall to a call that reported the untimely death.

After it became apparent that Dr Richman was deceased, firefighters left the scene. About a half-dozen police including command staff, patrol officers, and a detective were at the scene to investigate.

Police have confirmed that the death appears to be a suicide, but would not disclose the method nor any other details of the death. They did state that the death does not appear to be suspicious.

The Connecticut State Medical Examiner's office will conduct an autopsy, Newtown Police announced.

Several police officers were seen investigating the incident on the stage in the auditorium, where a renovation project is underway. The auditorium is a popular venue for film screenings and live performances.

Until 2009, the building served as the local seat of government.

Police will disclose that Dr Richman has an office the Edmond Town Hall and is the founder and CEO of The Avielle Foundation. He was the father of Avielle Richman, one of the children killed on 12/14.

Newtown Police Lt Aaron Bahamonde called the suicide "a heartbreaking event for the Richman family and the Newtown Community as a whole.

"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,” the lieutenant added. 

Lt Bahamonde later told The Newtown Bee that the department has "brought in mental health providers to meet with and counsel our officers.

"This type of event is very hard for the entire town, but especially for emergency responders," Lt Bahamonde said.

First Selectman Daniel Rosenthal also shared a comment on Monday, saying there were "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," Mr Rosenthal continued.  "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.

"Please keep Jeremy’s family in your hearts and pray that they find some measure of peace that he is now with Avielle.  I respectfully ask that they be given space to grieve without media intrusion."

The Edmond Town Hall Board of Managers announced late Monday morning that, although the building had been cleared of police officers and had been allowed to open, 45 Main Street would be closed for the day.

"The Edmond Town Hall Board of Managers and staff wishes to express our deepest sympathy to the Richman family, the Avielle Foundation, and the community," the board said via a statement. "Dr Richman was a well-respected and beloved member of the Edmond Town Hall family. We are deeply saddened by his passing."

Preparations were being made, the statement continued, with The Resiliency Center of Newtown, to help the town hall staff during "this difficult time," the statement concluded." Preparations are being made with The Newtown Resiliency Center to help our staff through this difficult time," the board announced. 

The Resiliency Center, located at 153 South Main Street, posted a note on its Facebook page Monday morning, reminding all residents that "...the RCN staff is with our community. We are open and here for anyone to gather, holding space for each other."

This story will continue to be updated as additional information becomes available.

Multiple police officers responded in marked and unmarked vehicles to Edmond Town Hall shortly after 7 am Monday morning, to investigate after they received a report of an untimely death inside the building.  (Bee Photo, Gorosko)  

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