Alison Russo-Elling murder: Witnesses say suspect Peter Zisopoulos tried to hide knife after brutal stabbing

Alison Russo-Elling murder: Witnesses say suspect Peter Zisopoulos tried to hide knife after brutal stabbing
Lt. Alison Russo was stabbed numerous times on September 29 (Facebook/ Bill Gleason and FDNY)

Update: Peter Zisopoulos, 34, has been charged with murder and criminal weapon possession in the random killing of EMS Lt. Alison Russo-Elling, 61, as she walked from her Queens EMS stationhouse to a nearby deli on Thursday, Sept 29, afternoon.

The Astoria man brandished a knife and viciously attacked her, stabbing her numerous times. He was first taken to hospital for evaluation. Zisopoulos ran into 19-80 41st St. and locked himself in his third-floor apartment. Police hostage negotiators were able to talk him out of an apartment where he was apprehended and later taken to the precinct in Astoria.

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NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: The random fatal stabbing of an EMS lieutenant has left people shocked with the New York City’s fire commissioner calling it “barbaric and completely unprovoked.” The 61-year-old Lt Alison Russo’s life was cut short on Thursday, September 29, when she was on her way to a closeby deli to grab something to eat.

The horrific unprovoked attack on Russo apparently happened not very far away from EMS Station 49 on 42nd Street on 20th Avenue near 41st Street in Astoria at around 2:30 pm in the afternoon. She was soon transported to Mount Sinai Queens Hospital but succumbed to her injuries. Now, several witnesses have come forward to share the details of the horrendous incident.

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The 42-year-old Janki Oomraw, who runs Peppy’s Auto Repair and who also chased the 34-year-old suspect, told The New York Daily News: “He has a bloody knife in his hand. There was blood all over his hands. When he saw me, he tried to hide the knife in his pockets. It was a long knife. I said, ‘Yo! What the f--- are you doing man?’ She was down on the floor barely breathing. She was stabbed in the chest. It was multiple times.”

But despite his efforts, Oomraw did not manage to catch the alleged attacker as he went inside a nearby three-story building’s third floor before barricading himself. Another witness, a 50-year-old Frank Millevoi, noted: “Cops said he was barricaded with a woman. He was in there for about an hour before they talked him out. He was a disheveled guy with glasses. Definitely emotionally disturbed.”

The retired NYPD officer claimed, “He didn’t put up a fight. They walked him right across the street and put him in a police car.” A woman named Camilla Groth, who lived in Astoria, spoke about the accused with CBS News and added, “When I heard the commotion, I hope it’s not him and when it was…I was surprised and shocked because again when I saw, I noticed him but I did not see he was a threat to anyone.”

Meanwhile after Russo’s death, Mayor Eric Leroy Adams went to the hospital where she was pronounced dead and said: “We lost one of our heroes. She was on duty doing her job saving the people of New York,” before asserting: “I served with EMS as a police officer. I know what they do every day. She was working for this city. She paid the ultimate sacrifice because of that.”

Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh paid tribute to the late medic by calling her “absolutely beloved on this job.” She also stated that Russo was on the frontline after the 9/11 attacks and “was cited multiple times for her bravery and her life saving work”.

Twitter was also filled with messages honoring Russo. A tweet from NYPDPC’s Commissioner Sewell read: “The NYPD stands united with the @FDNY as we mourn the loss of a dedicated, courageous public servant. The deadly, senseless attack on an on-duty EMT is a direct assault on our society. Please keep the family of EMS Lt. Alison Russo-Elling and the #FDNY in your hearts and prayers.”

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Justin Brannan, NYCCouncilmember, shared: “To be a first responder you really need to love this city but to be a street doctor for 25 years?! That's rare and speaks volumes about who she was. FDNY EMS Lt Alison Russo. Her service selfless. Her sacrifice immeasurable. There can be no second class first responders. R.I.P.” “Remember her face. Remember her name - Lt. Alison Russo, FDNY-EMS. She was murdered today while on the job in Queens, knifed to death by a deranged criminal. She was 61 years old. I did not know her, but many of my former EMS colleagues do. Rest, dear EMS sister,” a tweet added.

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