US: Don't blame me says drowned kids' dad

2011-04-21 13:02

Spring Valley - The father of three children who died along with their mother when she drove her minivan into the Hudson River said he is not directly responsible for the tragedy but wishes he could change parts of his past.

Jean Pierre broke his public silence on Wednesday, eight days after Lashanda Armstrong loaded her children into the van and drove down a boat ramp into the river 96km north of New York City. Police say Armstrong had been involved in a domestic incident at her apartment minutes earlier, and her friends say she was distraught that day.

Pierre doesn't face any charges.

"I have been inaccurately portrayed as being directly responsible for the tragedy," Pierre said in a prepared statement released through a lawyer. "If I could, I would have changed some things in my past."

Armstrong died with five-year-old Landen Pierre, two-year-old Lance Pierre and 11-month-old Laianna Pierre. Ten-year-old La'Shaun Armstrong survived by climbing through a window of the sinking minivan.

A woman who was driving past the boat ramp April 12 saw La'Shaun waving his arms. The woman, Meave Ryan, said La'Shaun told her that his mother had had a "big, big argument about my stepdad's cheating on her" before piling the four children into the van and speeding into the river.

First birthday

Ryan took La'Shaun to a nearby fire station. Rescuers immediately went to the river, but it was too late: They found the van about 25 metres from shore in 2.5m of water, and everyone inside was dead.

Family members sang "Happy Birthday" for the youngest victim, Laianna, at the river landing on Wednesday, marking her first birthday.

A funeral for the mother and the three children had been planned in Spring Valley in Rockland County for Thursday. But Pierre said he wants to grieve for his children privately. After consulting with the Armstrong family, he said, the funeral for his children will be on Monday, separate from their mother's funeral.

Pierre's attorney, Stephen J Powers, said his client is devastated and is staying with relatives. Powers said Pierre would not attend Lashanda Armstrong's funeral because he did not want to be a distraction.

Pierre will spend the day preparing for Monday's funeral for his children.

"I loved Landen, Lance, Laianna, Lashanda and still love La'Shaun with all my heart," Pierre said, "and am shocked and distraught by what happened."

  • Joann - 2011-04-21 15:36

    Perhaps if you actually had been a responsible father and helped raised these kids, this tragedy wouldn't of happened. Hope their memory haunts you for ever...

      ProfAndy - 2011-04-21 15:48

      That's the ugliest and most judgemental thing I've heard recently. So you blame him for his wife's irrational deeds? Where does it say he never helped raise the kids?

      Francis - 2011-04-21 17:29

      This is so typical, she does the dirty deed and because he is a man, he is now suddenly responsible. Sis, you should think before you write crap like this. This poor chap has now lost almost all his family through this stupid neurotic women's horrible actions.

      AJ - 2011-04-22 02:43

      Yeah Joann - it must be the guy right? Only in your misguided absurd man-hating world would a man allegedly cheating on his spouse be a worse crime than a woman definately loading her innocent kids into a car and drowning them all! I suppose if she had been cheating on him, and he had killed them then there must have been some good reason for it and he would have been a 'crazed monster' right? Pathetic.......

  • Missy - 2011-04-23 11:23

    Women need support from the man responsible for helping to create the children they bring into the world together. She's busy with four children, the house, the bills,and he gets to go and play around with other women? You bet he gets some blame. Should have been home with the children in his spare time, just like mom.

      andrew.pottow - 2011-05-22 15:16

      So let me get this straight. You are justifying her murdering her children by virtue of her being stressed? I know a whole lot of single moms who have had to deal with very difficult circumstances but none of them killed their children! What did the children do to deserve this? You insult their memories by making incorrect assumptions about this families private life that you have no idea about. Firstly, you assume it was the father who was cheating. Wrong! It was the STEPFATHER who was cheating on her, and the FATHER who was no longer married to her is being blamed! How does that work? You dont know how that relationship ended either. She may have been the one at fault for all you know! Get off your sexist high horse and do what is correct and just and honour these childrens memories rather than pinning the blame on someone who could not possibly be argued to be at fault other than if he had done it himself. She is to blame and thats where it ends. At the end of the day, murder is murder, just as if she had shot them before turning the gun on herself.

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