YWCA didn’t search father

MANCHESTER – Employees at the Manchester YWCA had grown “loose” on enforcing a policy to search parents and use a metal detector by the time Muni Savyon shot his 9-year-old son to death during a supervised visit on Aug. 11. Savyon then killed himself.

The state attorney general’s office issued its final report on the incident that left Amherst resident Joshua Savyon dead inside a visiting room at the Manchester facility.

YWCA Program Director Katie Schelzel told investigators the center had a policy that visiting parents be searched with a metal detector, but that the policy, written when the center was hiring detail police officers, wasn’t always followed.

“Since the funding cuts, Ms. Schelzel has been concerned about this policy because they were not sure what staff would do if they used the metal detector and ‘wanded’ somebody in and then they found a gun on that person,” according to the AG report.

Menahem “Muni” Savyon, 54, was visiting his son at the center, one of several places supervised visits are held in some marital and custody cases.

Savyon had threatened to kill his son and himself before and was charged by Nashua police with criminal threatening on March 29, 2012, according to court documents.

The charges were eventually shelved by the court, but Merrimack family court granted a domestic violence protection order, ruled that Savyon attend a batterer’s intervention program and have only supervised visits with his son, according to court documents.

Savyon shot his son during one of those visits.

Another YWCA employee, Michael Solis, was supervising the Aug. 11 visit and told investigators Savyon seemed himself when he arrived at the center around 9 a.m. Solis said Savyon had several items with him but no noticeable weapons, and Savyon was not searched with the metal detector, according to the report.

Solis said he was looking down taking notes when he heard two or three loud bangs about 40 minutes into the visit, saw Savyon standing over Joshua with a handgun and ran out of the room, yelling for someone to call 911, according to the report.

Surveillance video of the incident showed Savyon pull out a Smith and Wesson model 915, 9mm semi-automatic pistol, move close to his son and shoot him in the back of the head. Savyon then shot Joshua five more times before shooting himself in the head, according to the report.

Investigators determined that Savyon had purchased the ammunition Aug. 7. A second, 9-bullet magazine was found in Savyon’s bag.

They determined that the gun was originally purchased in Broadview Heights, Ohio, in March 1992 and later sold in a private sale in Arizona in 2003. No other information was available about the ownership of the gun or how it came into Savyon’s possession, according to the report.

Savyon sent an email, written mostly in Hebrew, to a pair of friends before the shooting. In it, he said he planned to kill himself and his son and made arrangements for his possessions and notification of his death to his mother in Israel, according to the report.

“It’s all over already, except for the other fathers and poor children, no self-righteous judges, lawyers and psychologists, arrogant and sanctimonious will make their lives even more miserable,” he wrote.

No criminal charges will be filed in the case given the fact that Savyon is dead.

Monica Zulauf, president and CEO of the Manchester YWCA, was not immediately available for comment.

Safety and security measures at the handful of visitation centers in the state were thrust into the public eye following the murder-suicide. Ann Louise Petrillo, coordinator of the Greater Nashua Supervised Visitation Center on Prospect Street, said every visiting parent is searched with a metal detector. A Nashua officer is also on-hand and stationed just outside the visitation room, Petrillo said.

Joseph G. Cote can be reached at 594-6415 or jcote@nashua
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