On Sunday, Shane Walker, 36, was arrested in the murder of his girlfriend, Air National Guard member Alla Ausheva, and their two young children. Police charged the Staten Island man with 12 counts of murder, three counts of manslaughter, three counts of criminal possession of a weapon, and three counts of arson. Walker reportedly had a troubling past of domestic violence accusations, which experts say follows a trend of escalation that occurs in abusive relationships.
Ausheva, 37, and the couple's sons, 2-year-old Ivan and 3-year-old Elia, were found dead in their Staten Island home on Saturday morning, the New York Post reported. The toddlers appeared to have been drowned in the bathtub, and their mother appeared to have been bludgeoned to death, although police sources revealed on Monday that she may have died from a stab wound on her neck (Walker later reportedly led police to a knife). Ausheva had an active order of protection, set to expire on July 8, against Walker.
Police received a call on Saturday morning about an assault in progress at the home. When they arrived, the officers noticed smoke and a small fire. Firefighters put out the fire and found the bodies in the bedroom. All three were pronounced dead at the scene. Police revealed that Ausheva’s supervisor made the 911 call after discovering the scene; she was checking in on Ausheva after Walker was found walking along the highway with her military ID and cell phone earlier that morning. "Someone called me to go there and check on her," the supervisor told the New York Post. "I’m sorry. It’s just a tragedy. She didn’t deserve it. Honestly, there are no words."
Walker was captured on surveillance video coming out of the home and stumbling into his car drunk early Saturday morning, police sources said. At around 7:30 a.m., Walker reportedly rear-ended a box truck on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, and was picked up by police wandering along the highway. He was taken to Maimonides Medical Center for evaluation. He was scheduled to be arraigned on Monday, but he allegedly head-butted a police officer as he was being transported from the medical center to Staten Island Criminal court. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation after the incident, and the arraignment was pushed to Tuesday.
Details have emerged about Walker’s troubling violent past. In December, he was arrested for allegedly hitting Ausheva. Walker accused Ausheva of “fooling around on him” after she returned from a Dunkin’ Donuts run, sources told the New York Post. Her order of protection against him also prohibited him from contacting his sons at the time of her murder.
“Escalation is when abuse gets worse, either suddenly or gradually… Over the course of an abusive relationship, it is common for abuse to escalate,” according to The National Domestic Violence Hotline. “Some abusive partners will stop at absolutely nothing to gain power and control over their partners, and one of the most irrevocable things they can do is end your life.”
The slain military woman had moved to the U.S. from Russia in 2011 as a Green Card lottery recipient and joined the New York Army National Guard soon after her arrival. She was sworn into citizenship at the White House by President Barack Obama on July 4, 2012. Ausheva transferred to the Air National Guard in 2014 and went on to achieve Airman First Class status.
Ausheva enjoyed singing and dreamt of performing on-stage. “One year ago, I moved from Russia — that’s when my first dream came true. Then in [the] summer, I joined U.S. Army — that’s when my second dream came true,” she said in a 2012 video posted to YouTube. “Now I’m singing on the stage…my third dream came true.”
If you are experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224 for confidential support.