Father kills son, himself during visitation at N.H. YWCA offices
Published Sunday, August 11, 2013 5:57PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, August 12, 2013 10:35AM EDT
MANCHESTER, N.H. -- An Israeli-born software engineer shot his 9-year-old son to death before taking his own life during supervised visitation in the U.S., officials said.
A supervisor was present when Muni Savyon, 54, took out a handgun and shot 9-year-old Joshua Savyon before shooting himself, the attorney general's office said.
The father sent an email to a friend suggesting he was suicidal before the shootings, said Rabbi Levi Krinsky of Chabad Lubavitch in Manchester, New Hampshire. Krinsky said Savyon had been depressed after recently returning from his brother's funeral in Israel, but he had seen him last week and had no concerns he would harm himself or someone else.
"What would provoke him to take his life and his son's life? I don't think anyone can figure that out," said Krinsky, who said Savyon attended synagogue occasionally. "My heart goes out to the family."
On Sundays, the Young Women's Christian Association centre is open for supervised child visitation and custody exchanges. Krinsky said the man and the boy's mother shared custody of the boy after parting ways years ago. The couple's marital status wasn't clear; Krinsky said the couple was divorced, but law enforcement officials said the two were separated.
Law enforcement officials said the relationship had been contentious at times, and Muni Savyon had previously threatened to kill himself, his son's mother and their son.
But Ellen Savyon Vig, who was once married to Muni Savyon and had remained friends with him after their 1997 divorce, described him as kind-hearted. She said he was especially close to his brother and he loved his son.
"He was nonviolent. He would try to help anyone he could. He was a really nice guy," she said.
Others were inside the building when the shots were fired. The supervisor who was present escaped unharmed, officials said.
Autopsies were scheduled for Monday.
New Hampshire's attorney general said the YWCA had used a metal detector on Savyon in the past but did not use it Sunday.
WMUR-TV reported that the hand-held metal detector wasn't used on Savyon, but it wasn't clear why.
Senior Assistant Attorney General Jeffery Strelzin said because of budget cuts, there was no other security in the building Sunday.