By Jennifer Mayerle

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Twin Cities man is calling his grandsons “heroes.”

Courtney Monson’s husband shot and killed her in front of their children last month, before turning the gun on himself.

The four kids survived because of what Monson’s father calls the older boys’ courageous acts.

Tim Olson, Courtney’s father, wants to raise awareness about domestic violence on what would have been her 31st birthday.

Courtney Monson (credit: CBS)

Courtney Monson (credit: CBS)

“She made a huge impact on people,” Tim said. “I’m so proud of her.”

He says Courtney always wanted to be a mom. He called her “super mom” to her kids: 12-year-old Ethan, 9-year-old Jack, 3-year-old Bennett and 2-year-old McKinley.

“She was amazing, she was absolutely amazing,” he said.

Tim has a hard time understanding what unfolded inside Bryce and Courtney Monson’s home in Ramsey late last month.

“I knew they had some issues but I just didn’t know the extent of it,” Tim said.

Witnesses told police Courtney ran to the basement with three of the four kids to hide after a violent confrontation with Bryce. He shot her multiple times in front of them.

“For somebody to come to you, gun pointing at you and with your kids surrounded by you, how could that even … I can’t even imagine the fear that she went through at that moment,” Tim said.

He later learned his grandsons pleaded for their lives. He believes it is what saved all four kids.

“I know there was a statement made. ‘Don’t shoot us and don’t shoot the dog.’ Both those older boys were heroes,” Tim said. “I know Jack was trying to protect, and I know Ethan was trying to protect.”

Bryce Monson (credit: CBS)

Bryce Monson (credit: CBS)

Bryce went into another room and killed himself. Ethan then grabbed the phone.

“Ethan knew what to do, call 911, take the kids outside, find safety,” Tim said.

He has learned more about the strained relationship between the couple since Courtney’s death.

“Courtney was very courageous. She went home fearing her life. I mean, people had pleaded for her not to go home,” he said.

And Tim has a message he hopes other victims will hear.

“If you have any fear whatsoever in your family, you get out. You find some safety,” Olson said.

The kids are now being cared for by Courtney’s mom and stepdad. Click here for the GoFundMe account friends set up to help the grandparents raise them.

And click here to find out how to help victims of domestic violence.

Jennifer Mayerle