The 37-year-old Staten Island mother found dead along with her two toddler sons in their smoke-filled home over the weekend, allegedly at the hands of her boyfriend, was a U.S. military member who moved to the city from Russia -- and became an American citizen during a 2012 ceremony at the White House.
Alla Ausheva, 37, and her sons, 3-year-old Elia and 2-year-old Ivan, were discovered unresponsive in their home on Palisade Street in Arrochar mid-morning Saturday; all were found in one room after firefighters extinguished a small blaze. Ausheva suffered trauma to the head, a source told News 4.
The medical examiner will conduct autopsies to determine how all three died.
Her boyfriend and the father of the toddlers, 36-year-old Shane Walker, was charged a day later with murder, arson and other crimes, the NYPD said.
According to The New York Times, Ausheva had an order of protection against Walker but it was no longer in effect. Her death culminates a true American dream story that ended, perhaps, before she was able to fully realize it.
Ausheva moved to Queens from St. Petersburg in 2011 and soon joined the New York Army National Guard. In 2014, she transferred to the Air National Guard. She was serving full time on active duty with a homeland security force based at Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn, according to a military spokeswoman.
She became a U.S. citizen on July 4, 2012.
"All of you did something profound: You chose to serve," then Democratic President Barack Obama told Ausheva and 24 other immigrant service members during the naturalization ceremony. "You put on the uniform of a country that was not yet fully your own. You displayed the values that we celebrate every Fourth of July - duty, responsibility and patriotism."
Ausheva also was passionate about music; a YouTube video shows her performing in both Russian and English.
"One year ago I moved from Russia. That's when my first dream came true," Ausheva said onstage. "Then in the summer I joined the U.S. Army. That's when my second dream came true. Now, I'm singing on a real stage and not in the shower. My third dream came true. And now I wonder what's next."
A comment she made during a song introduction now bears added poignancy: "Sometimes life separates us from the person we love and all we have are our memories."
Walker, also served in the Army National Guard and later joined the Air National Guard, working as a vehicle operator, officials said. He was hospitalized over the weekend after being found walking along a highway.
He was on his way to his arraignment on Monday when he got into an incident with a police officer, according to SILive.
Walker reportedly was being transported from a mental health facility when he headbutted an NYPD lieutenant and injured another officer as well, the NYPD told SI Live.
It appears his arraignment will be held off until Tuesday.