St. Jude’s Researcher Killed During a Robbery

( — Two individuals were arrested on Monday on multiple charges, including first-degree murder, in connection with the fatal shooting last Sunday of an employee from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Action News 5 in Memphis reported.

According to Memphis police, Alexander Bulakhov, 32, was shot and killed Sunday night as he was walking with his wife and two-year-old daughter in downtown Memphis.

An armed man in a ski mask approached the family and demanded their valuables. After taking Bulakhov’s wallet, the man pointed the gun at his wife, prompting Bulakhov to intervene. During the subsequent struggle over the gun, Bulakhov was shot.

Bulakhov was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he later died.

According to police, the suspect fled the scene in a white Toyota Camry. By Monday afternoon, police tracked down the Camry and detained 23-year-old Marious Ward and 22-year-old Brandy Rucker.

Both Ward and Rucker were charged with first-degree murder, first-degree murder during the commission of a robbery, criminal attempted first-degree murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a dangerous felony, and criminal attempted aggravated robbery.

Ward appeared in court on Wednesday, where the judge informed him that prosecutors could pursue the death penalty in his case, WREG reported.

Originally from Russia, the Bulakhovs moved to Memphis from New York over the summer so he could begin work as a post-doctoral researcher at St. Jude. His wife, Anastasiia, was scheduled to begin working at St. Jude in December.

Marious Ward is scheduled to appear in court again on December 1. According to WREG, he has no juvenile or adult criminal record.

Brandy Rucker appeared in court separately on Wednesday, where she too was informed that the death penalty was possible in her case.

Rucker admitted to driving the Camry when Ward shot and killed Bulakhov.

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