First responder stabbed to death in ‘barbaric’ attack

Lt Alison Russo-Elling, an EMS with the FDNY. Ms Russo-Elling was a first responder to the World Trade Centre on 9/11  (FDNY)
Lt Alison Russo-Elling, an EMS with the FDNY. Ms Russo-Elling was a first responder to the World Trade Centre on 9/11 (FDNY)

A New York Fire Department EMS worker was stabbed and killed in a seemingly random attack while she was on duty.

Acting FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanaugh called the stabbing "barbaric" and "unprovoked”.

According to WPIX, Lt Alison Russo-Elling, an 24-year veteran EMS worker with the agency who was a first responder to the World Trade Center on 9/11, was stabbed and killed while working in Astoria on Thursday.

The incident occurred around 2.20pm, according to NYPD officials. Ms Russo-Elling, 61, was rushed to the hospital in critical condition but died from her injuries.

According to police, Ms Russo-Elling was outside Station 49 in Astoria when a 34-year-old man "viciously attacked" her with a knife.

The suspect reportedly fled to his home on 41st Street and barricaded himself inside the building. The NYPD responded to the home and negotiators were eventually able to convince him to surrender. He was then taken into custody.

The man was later identified as Peter Zisopoulos and was charged with murder and criminal possession of a weapon, police said.

“Our hearts go out to the family, her colleagues and the City of New York. We lost one of our heroes,” Mayor Eric Adams said. “Her assailant has been apprehended and will be held accountable for his actions.”

FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said Ms Russo-Elling was a beloved member of the civil servant community in New York City.

“She was absolutely beloved on this job,” Ms Kavanagh said. “Members of EMS serve only to help and save other people’s lives. To be attacked and killed in the course of helping others is both heartbreaking and enraging for our department in ways I cannot describe.”

Governor Kathy Hochul released a statement acknowledging Ms Russo-Elling's death.

“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,” Ms Hochul wrote on Twitter.

Flags will be flown at half staff beginning on Friday to honour the slain EMS official.

Ms Russo-Elling was also a mother. He daughter, Danielle Fuoco, asked for prayers for herself and her mother, and that people remember Ms Russo-Elling as "the hero she was."