Queens, NY – A veteran Fire Department of New York (FDNY) emergency medical technician (EMT) was stabbed to death after she stepped out of the station house to grab lunch in Queens on Thursday afternoon.
The incident occurred at about 2:20 p.m. on Sept. 29 when 61-year-old FDNY EMT Lieutenant Alison Russo-Elling left the Station 49, located at 20th Avenue and 41st Street in the Astoria neighborhood, WPIX reported.
Police sources said that as soon as Russo-Elling got outside, 34-year-old Peter Zisopoulous began following her, the New York Post reported.
Sources said there is video of the attack that showed Zisopoulous slammed the 61-year-old woman to the ground, mounted Russo-Elling, and began repeatedly stabbing her.
The New York Police Department (NYPD) said Zisopoulous stabbed the veteran EMT at least 20 times, WPIX reported.
Police said a witness confronted the knife-wielding killer in the act, the New York Post reported.
The witness said Zisopoulous snarled “F–k you, f–k you!” and then stepped away from the woman he had been stabbing and went after the scooter-riding pedestrian who had interrupted him.
NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said a good Samaritan chased the murderer when he fled the area and ran back to his apartment, the New York Post reported.
Video of the scene showed Russo-Elling left unresponsive and bleeding to death from a fatal chest wound on the sidewalk, the New York Post reported.
She was transported to Mount Sinai Hospital where she died.
Zisopoulous barricaded himself inside his apartment, but NYPD negotiators were ultimately able to get him to surrender.
He was taken into custody without incident outside his third-floor apartment, WPIX reported.
Authorities have said that Russo-Elling had taken a break to go get food and the attack by Zisopoulous appeared to have been totally random and unprovoked, the New York Post reported.
“At this point in the investigation there doesn’t appear to have been any prior contact between them,” a source said. “He just walked toward her, sped up, and then stabbed her to death.”
Russo-Elling was a 25-year-veteran of FDNY and “was about six or seven months away from retirement,” according to her union president, Vincent Variale.
Variale said Russo-Elling had been talking about retiring and was excited about it, the New York Post reported.
She lived on Long Island and worked out of Station 49 in Astoria.
Russo-Elling, a 9/11 first responder, joined the FDNY as an EMT in March 1998 and was promoted to a paramedic in 2002, the New York Post reported.
She was promoted to lieutenant in 2016.
FDNY Acting Commissioner Laura Kavanagh called Russo-Elling’s death “heartbreaking.”
Kavanaugh called the murder a “barbaric and completely unprovoked attack,” the New York Post reported.
“We lost one of our heroes,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams told reporters at a press briefing.
Zisopoulous has been charged with murder and criminal possession of a weapon, WPIX reported.