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Originally published May 16, 2010 at 9:27 PM | Page modified May 17, 2010 at 11:22 AM

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Deaths at deputy's hands confound survivors

Sunday, family and friends were struggling to reconcile that person — devoted family man, church member and Pierce County sheriff's deputy — with the man who fatally shot his in-laws Friday night before taking his own life.

Seattle Times staff reporters

Allen Myron and his father-in-law, Monty Multanen, 70, were so close that Myron named his yellow Labrador, Monty, after him. The two regularly worked on home-improvement projects together.

His mother-in-law was so fond of Myron that when the couple visited from Vancouver, Wash., she brought along Little Debbies, one of his favorite snacks.

Sunday, family and friends were struggling to reconcile that person — devoted family man, church member and Pierce County sheriff's deputy — with the man who fatally shot his in-laws Friday night before taking his own life.

"They adored each other. That's what is so shocking," said Mary Broughton, 59, whose friendship with Allen and Sara Myron in church two decades ago grew into something akin to family. The Myron children called her Aunt Mary. "If somebody's depressed, then they need to get help, but he was not a murderer."

On Sunday morning, shortly before worshippers at the Fox Island Alliance Church gathered into small groups to pray for the Myron family, their pastor offered some words of advice.

"We are supposed to grieve together and suffer each other's burdens," Pastor Andy Snodgrass said. "But the wisest friends of Job sat down in the dirt with him and didn't say a word. They were not there to offer clichés or things they had read somewhere."

Snodgrass asked his flock to be tight-lipped about the tragedy and especially "not to talk about family matters outside of the family."

Police didn't provide many more details Sunday. At the Pierce County sheriff's request, Tacoma police have taken over investigating the case.

Detective Gretchen Aguirre, a Tacoma police spokeswoman, said the department would hold a news conference Monday, when they hoped to provide more information.

Aguirre said Sunday that investigators continued to survey the Myrons' Gig Harbor house on 58th Street Northwest, where Myron fatally shot his wife's parents before barricading himself in an upstairs bedroom. Shortly before 10 p.m., SWAT teams heard a muffled gunshot: The 11-year Pierce County deputy had taken his own life.

Aguirre said Myron's in-laws were visiting the family for the weekend and that Myron's 15-year-old daughter was also at the home with a male teenage friend. Before the shooting, Myron told the teenagers to go to the basement, Aguirre said, and they were able to walk out of the house.

His wife, Sara, and three other children, who range from 17 to 22 years old, were not in the home at the time, according to police.

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Eric Multanen, the 46-year-old son of the victims, said Sunday that the slayings have been "devastating" to his family.

"I can't really say that everybody is doing OK," said Multanen, who lives in Portland. Sara Myron and the children, however, "seem to have a good support group through their community and church."

Family members have said the Multanens had been helping financially since Allen Myron went on light duty about two years ago after a back injury. In addition to being paid more than $70,000 annually as a sheriff's deputy, Myron had supplemented his income by working three-hour shifts, at $45 an hour, on many weekends for a citizens patrol on Fox Island.

"They were dedicated parents and grandparents who were supporting their children," Eric Multanen said.

Sgt. Ed Troyer, a spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff's Office, said Myron had been receiving full pay during the approximate 1 ½ years he was on "light duty."

No motive for the shootings is known, but Debra Lane, a friend of Sara Myron's, said that Allen Myron seemed depressed after his back injury and by the recent shootings of four Lakewood police officers and Pierce County sheriff's Deputy Kent Mundell Jr.

Broughton said Allen Myron complained frequently about neck and back pain that persisted even after back surgery last year. She didn't know if he was on pain medication or not.

"He was in constant pain, even on a good day," Broughton said.

A few months ago, he went out of town to attend the funeral of an older brother, who died from cancer, she said.

And there were hints of a marriage under strain.

"The biggest stress in my life right now is that my marriage is crumbling around me. Nearly 24 years and at a standstill," wrote Sara Myron on a publicly accessible website. "Many misunderstandings, emotional abuse, no support of my efforts to lose weight."

Sara Myron also was building her personal-chef and catering business, which started in August 2005, two months after she and her husband obtained a $50,000 line of credit secured by their home.

In 2006, the Myrons increased the limit on the line of credit to $250,000, according to a mortgage deed filed in Pierce County.

It was difficult to believe Allen Myron, a man most knew as courteous and gentle, could kill his own relatives, Snodgrass acknowledged at a Sunday morning worship service. "Three individuals passed away in the most violent, horrible, terrible, evil way. ... And we're not going to know some of the answers until we see the Lord," he said.

He said the family is being sheltered by people close to them. He said church members are preparing meals and starting a support fund and plan to clean and prepare the house for the family's eventual return.

On Saturday, a smaller group of church members met at Donkey Creek Park on Gig Harbor's waterfront to pray as well.

Callum Heap, 22, prayed that his friend Joshua — the Myrons' oldest son — would accept that he wasn't at fault. "He blames himself for this. Show him this is not the truth."

And neighbors continued to try reconcile their memories of Allen Myron with the Friday shootings. After her husband's stroke, neighbor Dedrikka Britt, 83, recalled that Myron inquired about his health and offered help.

When the Myrons first moved into the neighborhood just over a decade ago, the couple and their four children went door to door on Christmas Eve to wish their neighbors a merry Christmas and to give them a gift of home-baked bread.

"He was a very kind man," Britt said. "We're just in shock. What else can you say? ... We understand we're living in very troubled times."

Staff reporters Mike Carter, Dominic Gates and Michael Berens contributed to this story.

Sanjay Bhatt: 206-464-3103 or sbhatt@seattletimes.com

Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983 or cclarridge@seattletimes.com

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