UPDATED: Distraught man shoots and kills his son, himself at Manchester YWCA; victims identified
MANCHESTER — A 54-year-old Manchester man shot his 9-year-old son to death Sunday morning, then took his own life in an office at the YWCA at 72 Concord St., police said.
The shooting happened shortly after 10 a.m., while Muni Savyon of Manchester was visiting with his son, Joshua, in the presence of an adult male counselor in a second-floor counseling office used for the YWCA's program for supervised visitation between parents and their children.
Authorities said Savyon suddenly produced a handgun and shot his son several times. He then turned the gun on himself. The counselor managed to get out of the room safely.
Muni Savyon had been separated from his son's mother for several years, investigators said. The boy lives in Amherst.
"The relationship has been contentious at times and included threats by Muni Savyon to kill himself, his son's mother and their son," Senior Assistant Attorney General Jeffery A. Strelzin said in a written statement.
Supervised visits by divorced and separated parents with their children are scheduled for neutral locations, such as the YWCA, when courts have decreed that the parent can only visit with a child under supervision. Savyon had a 9:30 a.m. appointment for a one-hour visit with his son Sunday.
Manchester police were called to the YWCA at Concord and Chestnut streets after receiving a 9-1-1 call for the sound of shots. The two bodies were discovered when police went inside the building. The YWCA includes 23 apartments on upper floors; building manager Bob Marsh said about 20 tenants were led to safety by police, who did a room-by-room search.
Death in family
A rabbi who knows the family said Savyon is twice-divorced. Savyon had been a member of Chabad Lubavitch of New Hampshire in Manchester. Rabbi Levi Krinsky said he has known Savyon for several years,
"He was rather quiet and reserved, always was," Krinsky said.
Krinsky said when the boy was with Savyon, "he was constantly being a good father."
Krinsky said a recent family tragedy changed Savyon's demeanor. About six weeks ago, his brother died suddenly in Israel of a heart attack. Savyon went to Israel, his homeland, for the mourning period and came back to Manchester a changed man.
"I saw him when he returned from Israel; he was clearly distraught, spacey," Krinsky said "It never occurred to me that he was distressed to the point of suicide."
Krinsky's last conversation with Savyon was last Wednesday.
"He just looked right through me, I was talking to him and he was hearing me but not listening," Krinsky said.
Several members of Savyon's family live in Israel, the rabbi said.
"He was fluent in English and Hebrew," Krinsky said.
Savyon was active politically in Manchester and in February 2012 was the sole Republican candidate in a special election to the state House of Representatives for Hillsborough District 10, a section of Manchester's Ward 3.
The election was won by Rep. Peter Sullivan, who received 122 votes to 27 for Savyon, who campaigned on libertarian issues. Savyon was also active in the Amoskeag Better Communicators Toastmasters, a group that fosters public speaking skills.
Savyon was described as a man who did software consulting work for various computer companies from his home in Manchester.
Autopsies on the bodies of the dead father and son are scheduled today.