February 28, 2006 -- A brilliant MIT math whiz, sparring with his estranged wife over money, shot her to death at her luxury Long Island home yesterday - as the couple's terrified 6-year-old son told a 911 operator: "Daddy shot Mommy!"
The panicked child then locked himself in the bathroom and heard another gunshot - from his suicidal dad blowing his brains out - before cops rescued him.
The bloody horror unfolded at around 1:50 p.m. in the pricey apartment complex at 60 Pinnacle Drive in Port Jefferson, Suffolk County cops said.
Police said the crazed 36-year-old dad - who sources and co-workers identified as Alexander Astashkevich - pulled up to the curb of the complex in a black 2000 Mercedes and loudly knocked on the door of his wife's apartment, armed with a 12-gauge shotgun.
"The mother was shot immediately as she opened the front door," said Detective Lt. Jack Fitzpatrick.
Astashkevich then stepped over the lifeless body of his 31-year-old wife, Olga, and went upstairs to see their son, Arthur, a source said.
Although the boy was a flight up, authorities said he "might have seen his mom killed," one source said.
The dad then "sat the boy down, and told him that he was going to kill himself," Fitzpatrick said.
The father also confessed to the child that he had just killed the mother, police said.
At some point, Astashkevich, a Russian immigrant, picked up a cordless phone, dialed 911 "and tried to tell them he killed his wife," a source said. But he wound up handing the phone to his son.
"The dispatcher told the boy 'to get in the bathroom immediately,' which he did," Fitzpatrick said.
From inside the locked bathroom, Arthur reported the slaying of his mom to the operator, who kept the boy on the line. The child then heard another shot - and told the operator he thought his dad had just killed himself.
When cops arrived, they saw the mother's bloody body sprawled in the ground-floor vestibule.
Suffolk Emergency Services officers stormed the house, where they found Astashkevich dead inside an upstairs bathroom, the shotgun by his side.
He had shot himself once in the head, sources said.
Arthur was found still locked in the other bathroom.
The child later told cops that his parents, who had split about a year ago, fought a lot.
One neighbor said cops pulled up to the home only the night before, apparently on a domestic-dispute call.
"I saw her [that same] night taking out her trash," the resident said of Olga. "She looked really paranoid, afraid."
Astashkevich's boss, hedge-fund mogul Jim Simons, said his employee "was quite well off" but added, "I think money was an issue between them.
"He was estranged from his wife, and obviously under some kind of terrible strain," said Simons, the head of Renaissance Technologies, where Astashkevich worked as a researcher.
"He seemed like a good father ... He seemed like a loving parent. But obviously, something terrible happened."
Simons said Astashkevich received his Ph.D. in mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Astashkevich lived in a one-bedroom, luxury pad near his family so that he could still see his son, one neighbor said.
"He was a very friendly guy. He didn't seem like he had any problems," the neighbor said.
Police said they were not officially releasing names until they notified the couple's next of kin, who are believed to be in Russia.