NEW YORK – A man is facing charges after police said he attacked a first responder who was standing on the street outside of the stationhouse where she worked.
Alison Russo-Elling was outside her Queens EMS station on her way to get food, when a man came up from behind her and stabbed her multiple times, including in the neck, WNBC reported.
The suspect, identified as Peter Zisopoulos, was chased by a witness to a nearby apartment building where he barricaded himself inside his third-floor home, detectives told WNYW. Hostage negotiators were able to successfully talk Zisopoulos out of the apartment, and he was taken into custody.
Russo-Elling died of her injuries at the hospital after the attack, which the head of the New York City Fire Department called a “barbaric and unprovoked attack,” WNBC reported.
“In one moment, just a short time away from her planned retirement, in one moment a lifetime of work came crashing to an end,” Chief of EMS Lillian Bonsignore told WABC.
Russo-Elling was a 25-year veteran of FDNY EMS, and was among the first responders who ran into the twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001, Acting FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh told WNBC. Kavanagh said the 61-year-old was “cited multiple times for her bravery and her life-saving work, and she was absolutely beloved on this job.”
The exterior of the EMS station where Russo-Elling served and was killed was draped in purple and black bunting Friday, WABC reported.
“We lost one of our heroes, she provided a service to the city for over 24 years, her assailant has been apprehended and will be held accountable for his actions,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said in a news conference.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a tweet: “New York’s first responders deserve to return home safely at the end of their shifts. Our hearts are with the family of the EMS lieutenant who was killed while delivering care today and the entire @FDNY as they mourn this tragic loss.”
The suspect has no prior arrests and no known connection to the victim. Law enforcement sources told WABC he has a history of mental illness.
Help a Deserving Family Get a New Roof for Free!
SeaWorld Howl-O-Scream and Spooktacular
LISTEN LIVE: Listen to Houston’s Eagle now!
Dean & Rog’s Thousand Dollar Minute
Play the Harley High Roller Contest
Dean & Rog Mornings
On-air surprise: Joe Buck learns he is joining father in Pro Football Hall of Fame
‘Leave him alone’: Adele halts Las Vegas show, scolds security for ‘bothering’ fan