Man in YWCA Killing Made Violent Threats

Nashua — The 54-year-old who killed his son and himself Sunday was arrested for threatening the child and his mother in Nashua last year and ordered to attend a batterer’s program.

Menahem “Muni” Savyon was arrested by Nashua police on March 29, 2012, and charged with domestic violence: criminal threatening for telling Becky Ranes, an Amherst resident, that he had a gun and that “it’s going to be either you or Josh and I,” 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.

It was during one of those visits, at the YWCA in Manchester on Sunday, that Savyon shot 9-year-old Joshua Savyon several times and then shot himself in the head, according to police.

Manchester police and SWAT officers surrounded the building on Concord Street around 10 a.m. Sunday after a report of shots being fired.

Police said Savyon shot his son and himself in the middle of a visit and with a staff member, who was uninjured, in the room. It’s unclear whether YWCA staff used a handheld metal detector on Savyon. YWCA New Hampshire President and CEO Monica Zulauf said the metal detector isn’t used on all clients and that it’s used “sporadically but often.”

Court documents at Merrimack family court show a long and contentious custody battle between Savyon and Ranes, with disputes over child support and medical payments, whether an anger management evaluation conducted at Greater Nashua Mental Health Center was sufficient, whether Joshua should be home-schooled, and whether Ranes should be allowed to move with Joshua to Florida.

Ranes and Savyon met in 2002 while she was working in accounts receivable and Savyon as an independent contractor at a local company. Joshua was born in April 2004, according to court documents.

Motions and objections about parenting time and child custody ballooned the family court file starting in 2008. One dispute was over about $6,000 Ranes said Savyon owed in child support and medical expenses while at the same time he posted a court-ordered $30,000 bond in order to travel with Joshua to Israel.

A status hearing was scheduled in the case for later this month, according to court documents.

Ranes filed a domestic violence petition on March 30, 2012. She wrote that after an appointment Joshua had at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock clinic in Nashua, Savyon told her that he had “snapped” and that we “live in New Hampshire. I now have a gun and it’s going to be either you or me and Joshua.”

“I am afraid for the safety of me and my son. He was arrested for this,” Ranes wrote.

Nashua police arrested Savyon and released him on $10,000 personal recognizance bail, according to records at Nashua district court, but the case was placed on file without finding for a year, provided that Savyon complied with orders issued by the Merrimack family court.

A domestic violence order from that court was vacated on July 25, according to documents.

A parenting order issued in 2008 dictated exactly where Joshua would spend his time. He lived primarily with Ranes, except several Jewish holidays, including Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

It also required Savyon to post a $30,000 bond that would be paid to Ranes if he failed to return from Israel with Joshua. He also was required to make sure that Joshua spoke with his mother daily during the trip and that Joshua’s passport was kept with a third party while they were in the country, according to documents.

In May 2012, Savyon submitted a motion that said an anger management evaluation conducted by a counselor at Grater Nashua Mental Health Center at Community Counsel was filed under seal. The evaluation did not recommend any treatment, according to Savyon’s motion, which asked the court to reinstate his parenting time.

Ranes called the evaluation “woefully inadequate” and asked a judge to deny Savyon’s requests, according to court documents.

A guardian ad litem investigation was mostly complete but still needed documents from the Manchester YWCA, as well as information about Savyon’s participation in a batterer’s intervention program to be finalized, according to records filed at Merrimack family court.