Police assemble outside the YWCA in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Sunday. The state attorney-general's office said Muni Savyon, 54, of Manchester used a handgun to fatally shoot his son Joshua Savyon, 9, of Amherst, before fatally shooting himself during a supervised visit in the YWCA office.

Manchester, New Hampshire - A man used a handgun to shoot his nine-year-old son to death before taking his own life during a supervised visit at a Young Women's Christian Association office in New Hampshire's largest city, officials said on Sunday.

An adult supervisor was present when Muni Savyon, 54, of Manchester, produced a handgun and shot nine-year-old Joshua Savyon of Amherst before shooting himself, the attorney-general's office said. Reports of gunfire shortly after 10am brought a heavy response from police officers, who set up a perimeter.

The father, who was reportedly depressed after returning from his brother's funeral in Israel, sent an email to a friend suggesting he was suicidal before the shootings, said Rabbi Levi Krinsky of Chabad Lubavitch in Manchester. Krinsky said he'd seen the man last week and had no concerns about his well-being.

“What would provoke him to take his life and his son's life? I don't think anyone can figure that out,” Krinsky said. “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 were 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 unharmed, officials said.

A tactical team searched the building, including some apartments over the YWCA offices, afterward to ensure a shooter wasn't on the loose. Autopsies were scheduled for Monday, officials said.

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 are depressed,” he said. - Sapa-AP