Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sheriff defends department in deputy shooting


TACOMA -- The Pierce County sheriff believes his department did everything right in the hours leading up to last Friday's deadly shooting by one of his deputies.

This, despite the fact the deputy's wife raised concerns about her husband shortly before the shooting.

One week ago, Deputy Allen Myron shot and killed his parents-in-law, then later turned the gun on himself.

But one hour before the shooting, Myron's wife spoke to one of his commanders, saying she had concerns about Myron's behavior.

Investigators have said an argument over a failing marriage led to the deadly shooting of Monty and Susan Multanen. Allen blamed his in-laws for meddling in their marriage, and negatively influencing his wife, Sara Myron.

Sara Myron wasn't at their home at the time, but one hour before the shooting, she had contacted her husband's supervisor to express concerns about his recent behavior.

"My understanding is that it was nothing of a major alarm," Tacoma Police Det. Mark Fulghum. "She was just trying to relay that he was a little bit more upset, but there were no threats, no violence, nothing that led her to believe that he was dangerous."

Detectives said Sara Myron never mentioned her husband's suicide attempt from December 2009. In her previous contacts with the Pierce County Sheriff's Department, Sarah Myron also said her husband "never assaulted her, made threats to harm her or anyone else and she did not feel he was dangerous," Fulghum said.

As a result, the supervisor set up an appointment for the following Monday, and Sheriff Paul Pastor believes the supervisor acted appropriately.

"After asking, 'Was there grounds for criminal behavior here? Were there grounds for intervening specifically in a criminal situation?' It sounds as if those grounds were not presented," he said.

The victims' family says no one, not even the sheriff's department, had any way of knowing what was to come.

"I think the sheriff's department acted properly," said Gary Multanen, brother of Monty Multanen. "It's an unfortunate situation. No one knew Allen was going to go into a rage."

Investigators said Allen Myron had been placed on light medical leave for 18 months due to a back injury, but was cleared to return to full patrol three months ago. The 49-year-old deputy was an 11-year veteran of the force.

Gary Multanen says the family is trying to cope the best it can with the tragedy.

"Sara is doing quite well under the circumstances. And my niece is under care, but she's ... it's traumatic for a 15-year-old," he said.

And despite the fact they're a law enforcement family, the Myrons will get no benefits since this was not a death in the line of duty.

A memorial for the Multanens is set for Monday in Vancouver.
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