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Police: Car driven into Tempe Town Lake was murder-suicide

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PHOENIX – A crash that left five people dead after a family SUV plunged into Tempe Town Lake on Sunday is being investigated as a murder-suicide, police said.

Witnesses told investigators the SUV, allegedly driven by 27-year-old Glenn Edward Baxter, plunged into the lake under the Scottsdale Road Bridge shortly after midnight.

Lt. Mike Pooley said some fishermen called for help, ran to their vehicle and drove to the north side of the lake to help.

Here is the audio of the fishermen’s 911 call. (WARNING: This audio contains material and explicit language that may be disturbing to some.)

Three officers and one fisherman jumped into the lake and pulled out Baxter, the 25-year-old mother, 2-year-old boy and 6-month old girl. The 2-year-old survived the crash, but died at the hospital.

“They began performing CPR on them, trying to do everything they could to keep them alive,” Pooley said.

Pooley said a 3-year-old boy was later found strapped in his seat in the rear third row of the SUV after police noticed he was unaccounted for.

“This is one of those ones it is extremely difficult,” he said. “It’s one of those things that’s going to stick with us a long time.”

Baxter was the father of all three children. His wife, Danika, was also killed in the crash.

During a press conference, Pooley said Danika and Glenn were separated and did not live together at the time of the crash, but had gotten together that night to “talk about the children.”

In a surveillance tape from a condominium adjacent to where the vehicle was parked, police said Glenn could be seen getting out of the silver Nissan Armada, walking down to the lake, getting back into the vehicle then driving it in reverse at a “high rate of speed” toward the lake.

“We still don’t know what happened inside that vehicle, but what we do know is Mr. Baxter took deliberate action in driving his family into that lake,” he said during the press conference. “This was not an accident.”

Pooley said there was a handgun located inside of the vehicle, but no gunshot-related wounds were found in any of the victims.

“These little kids (were) completely innocent, completely helpless in a situation like this,” he said during the press conference. “It is completely horrific what happened to these little kids and their mother.”

KTAR News’ Christina Estes contributed to this report. 

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