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'Depressed' US father kills son, 9, himself

12 August 2013, 12:33

Manchester — A man shot his 9-year-old son to death before taking his own life during supervised visitation at a YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association) office, officials said on Sunday.

An adult supervisor was present when Muni Savyon, aged 54, of Manchester, took out a handgun and shot 9-year-old Joshua Savyon of Amherst before shooting himself about 10:00 local time, the attorney general's office said.

The father sent an e-mail to a friend suggesting he was suicidal before the shootings, said Rabbi Levi Krinsky of Chabad Lubavitch in Manchester. 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 YWCA 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.

Others were inside the building when the shots were fired partway through the one-hour visitation. The counsellor who was present at the time managed to escape unarmed, officials said.

Autopsies were scheduled for Monday.

Krinsky said he had no idea that Savyon was capable of violence, much less harming his own son. "We have to be more and more alert to mental illness and people who're depressed," he said.

- AP

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