Alison Russo-Elling: Locals call to ‘defund politicians’ after FDNY lieutenant stabbed to death

Alison Russo-Elling: Locals call to ‘defund politicians’ after FDNY lieutenant stabbed to death
Alison Russo-Elling (L), a veteran paramedic was stabbed multiple times by schizophrenic Peter Zisopoulos resulting in her death (NYPD, @FYPD/Twitter)

QUEENS, NEW YORK: Alison Russo-Elling, 61, a first responder at the World Trade Center and a 25-year veteran of EMS, was stabbed by Peter Zisopoulos, a resident of Astoria, in an unprovoked attack as she went to get food near her station in Queens EMS. In the Astoria neighborhood where FDNY Lt Alison Russo-Elling worked and was killed, a makeshift memorial at her residence chanted "Defund the Politicians," while residents on Saturday remembered her suspected killer as a "crazy" man who roamed the neighborhood without a target. "Defund the Politicians Enough is Enough. Justice for Alison," read a stack of signs on 20th Avenue, where the 61-year-old paramedic was killed.

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The Astoria man attacked Russo with a knife and stabbed her several times. He was initially taken to a hospital for examination. Zisopoulos ran to 19-80 41st St and locked himself in his third-floor apartment. Police hostage negotiators were able to coax him out of an apartment, where he was arrested and later taken to the Astoria precinct.

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

Alison Russo-Elling death: Suspect Peter Zisopoulos was transported to hospital by her EMS unit in 2018

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Russo-Elling was known as the mother of the station and was full of life. Others left messages at a memorial outside Station 49 on 42nd Street, expressing their condolences and thanking EMTs for their service. One said, "Thank you for what you do for Astoria." A bouquet from the Bronx's FDNY EMS Station 17 read, "It was a privilege to have known you” and “you will never be forgotten."

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Zisopoulos allegedly chased the good Samaritan away while brandishing a knife and shouting, "F**k you, f**k you!" as he attempted to step in. Zisopoulos stabbed the victim, Alison Russo, numerous times with a knife, resulting in her death, according to the prosecution. Peter Zisopoulos was being held at Bellevue Hospital on Saturday, awaiting his arraignment. The 34-year-old accused killer has been charged with murder and criminal weapon possession. 

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Deputy Chief Gregg Brady of the New York Fire Department remembers FDNY Lieutenant Alison Russo-Elling and said, "I was partners with her on 45 Rescue as a Rescue Paramedic, she was willing and able to respond to calls in the special operations community, in the most dangerous of environments. Each day we were ready for that assignment, and today we mourn her for the hard work and dedication she’s put in for over 24 years. She spent each day trying to be there for the men and women that are standing behind me, to make sure that they went home safely. She wore her heart on her sleeve, would give you the shirt off her back and she was there for me when I was at my most vulnerable. She put her arm around me and said everything was going to be ok." 

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"Lieutenant Russo had a heart of gold; she was here for the whole station, she made sure that we were all ok. We are a close-knit station. She made sure everyone went home safe. I have known her for over 13 years, she was the mother of the station. She was full of life; she was such a great person. It is a tragedy that we have to go through this again," said FDNY Paramedic Madelyn Higueros remembering FDNY Lieutenant Alison Russo.

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According to FDNY "Lieutenant Russo-Elling is the 1,158th member of the #FDNY to die in the line-of-duty. Funeral arrangements are pending."

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