Lashaun Armstrong, the lone survivor of yesterday’s murder-suicide, which claimed the lives of his mother, Lashanda, and three siblings, today fleshed out details of the final moments of the nightmarish incident. The boy’s statements provide a rare glimpse into an act of unparalleled horror—one that is certain to leave him with deep-seated emotional scars.
Lashaun told authorities that shortly before his mother drove her minivan down the ramp of a boat dock and into the Hudson around 8 p.m., she said to no one in particular, “I’m sorry, I’m going to do something crazy.” Moments later, as the van plunged into the water, he heard her say, “If I’m going to die, you’re going to die with me.”
Lashaun’s final recollections of the scene inside the car were of chaos and panic. He recalls his mother frantically demanding help from her father, whom she had phoned, while his brothers and sister, all strapped into child safety seats, screamed in terror.
Remarkably, Lashaun, who is only 10, managed to open a power window and escape into the frigid water. By the time he had swum to shore, he told police, the car had already vanished beneath the surface.
Meave Ryan, a passerby who saw the boy emerge from the river, is quoted by the New York Daily News as saying:
He was waving his hands, screaming ‘Help me! My mommy just drove the car into the water.’
Ryan rushed the shivering boy to a nearby fire station. An hour-long search later turned up the submerged van, holding the four bodies. The car was about 75 feet offshore in 8 feet of water.
Police believe an ingredient in Lashanda Armstrong’s decision to end her and her children’s lives was an ongoing dispute with her boyfriend Jean Pierre over his infidelity. Authorities took Pierre in for questioning last night but released him afterwards. He is not expected to be charged. Pierre is the father of the three dead children.
Today, shaken members of the Armstrong family tearfully assembled at the edge of the boat ramp where the van lurched into the darkness. They released three star-shaped white balloons and lit candles. After the prayerful vigil, they left behind flowers and three stuffed animals.
- Mom drives car into Hudson, kills self, 3 children (Video)
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