crimesider

Newburgh mayor calls Hudson River deaths "a tragedy"

A boat ramp where a woman who drove her minivan into the Hudson River is seen in Newburgh, N.Y., Wednesday, April 13, 2011.
Seth Wenig/AP
Lashandra Armstrong
Personal Photo

(CBS/WCBS) NEWBURGH, N.Y - Police believe Lashandra Armstrong of Orange County, N.Y. killed herself and three of her children by driving her minivan into the Hudson River Tuesday night - one child managed to escape.

Pictures: Mom drives into river, kills 3 kids, 1 escapes

"We are talking about a tragedy in this city that is probably second to none," Newburgh Mayor Nicholas Valentine said. "The whole scene surrounding what occurred in Newburgh last night will have a lasting effect on this city," he added.

Armstrong's neighbors were shocked, according to the station.

"I just know that she works, and she goes to school...she was always out with the kids, playing. It's amazing," said Carmen Davila, the station reports.

Police announced Wednesday that the possible murder-suicide took place after Armstrong was involved in a domestic dispute, reports CBS station WCBS.

Officials say that Armstrong had all four of her children in the minivan when she drove it into the Hudson River, the station reports.

Armstrong's 10-year-old son Lashaun managed to slip out of the van by rolling down the power window, which was still functioning. Once he made it out, the boy swam back to the shore. A passerby found him soaking wet and took him to firefighters, authorities said according to WCBS.

Lashaun told them his mother had just driven into the river with his brothers and sister. Police had been responding to a domestic dispute call at the woman's home about six blocks away from the river when they heard what happened, reports the station.