A 36-year-old man has been charged with murder in the deaths of a woman and two toddlers who police found inside a smoke-filled home on Staten Island, New York police said Sunday.
Police officers went to the house on Palisade Street around 10:30 a.m. ET Saturday after receiving a 911 call about an assault in progress, NYPD Assistant Chief Kenneth Corey said at a news conference.
A small fire burning inside the house was quickly put out. Found dead were Alla Ausheva, 37; Elia Walker, 3; and Ivan Walker, 2, police said.
Almost three hours before the bodies were found, police picked up Shane Walker, 36, wandering the streets near the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, Corey said. He was taken to a hospital for an evaluation, Corey said.
On Sunday, Walker was charged with murder, manslaughter, arson and criminal possession of a weapon, police said.
The relationship between the suspect and the victims was not immediately clear, but Corey said police believe the man is the children’s father.
So far police have not offered a motive for the slayings. No cause of death has been determined yet but the deaths are being treated as homicides, Corey said.
Ausheva and Walker were active duty members of the New York Air National Guard, Col. Richard Goldenberg, spokesperson of the New York National Guard, said Sunday.
Ausheva, a 2012 naturalized citizen from Russia, served as a logistics planner with the 109th Airlift Wing, based in Scotia, New York, he said. Walker served with the 105th Airlift Wing as a vehicle operator in Newburgh, New York, Goldenberg said.
Both Walker and Ausheva had served with the Army National Guard before switching to the Air National Guard, he said.
Walker, Ausheva and the children all lived at the Palisade Street residence, police said. Police had made one other call to the residence, for a domestic disturbance, police said.
Neighbors told CNN affiliate WABC they never saw anything suspicious at the house.
“I’ve seen (the father) a few times, he seems like a nice guy,” Rod Hamed told the station. “Nothing suspicious about him. A military guy, what would you expect?”