Sept. 30, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
An Astoria man has been arrested and charged with murder for the brutal stabbing of an EMS lieutenant in the Ditmars section of the neighborhood Thursday afternoon.
Peter Zisopoulos, 34, was arrested by police shortly after he allegedly stabbed 61-year-old Alison Russo-Elling to death at the 20th Avenue and 41st Street intersection at around 2:20 p.m. — in what officials say was a random and completely unprovoked attack.
Russo-Elling, a 24-year veteran who was a first responder to the Sept. 11 attacks, was on duty at the time of the incident and had left EMS Station 49 to get food when she was attacked, FDNY officials said.
A horrific video posted online appears to show Zisopoulos lunging at Russo-Elling, knocking her down onto the pavement. He then kneels on top of her and savagely stabs her at least 20 times in the chest and neck.
Zisopoulos can then be seen running away from Russo-Elling as she lays on the ground dressed in her uniform.
He was then chased by a good Samaritan before barricading himself inside his nearby apartment NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said Thursday. The incident took place outside Zisopoulos’ apartment, which is on the third floor of 40-19 20th Ave.
Zisopoulos was later taken into custody by police and charged with her murder and criminal possession of a weapon. The New York Daily News reported that he has a history of schizophrenia.
Russo-Elling was rushed to Mount Sinai Queens in critical condition but could not be saved, police said.
Russo-Elling was a Long Island resident who also worked with the volunteer ambulance corps in Huntington. During her career she was cited “multiple times for her bravery and her life-saving work,” Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said.
She joined the FDNY as an EMT in March 1998 and was promoted to paramedic in 2002 before becoming a lieutenant in 2016, according to the FDNY.
Russo-Elling worked out of numerous EMS stations throughout her career before ending up at Station 49 – which is a block away from where she was fatally attacked. She is survived by a daughter and her parents.
Dozens of FDNY officials assembled outside Mount Sinai last night and formed a guard of honor as her body was removed from the hospital.
FDNY members salute #FDNY Emergency Medical Service Lieutenant Alison Russo-Elling during her dignified transfer. She is the 1,158th member of the Department to make the Supreme Sacrifice while serving our city. Read more: https://t.co/f4BAN8B92w pic.twitter.com/esfBnn2yB5
— FDNY (@FDNY) September 30, 2022
The brutal killing of Russo-Elling sparked an outpouring of condolences from elected officials.
Mayor Eric Adams, who visited Mount Sinai hospital yesterday, said that her attacker would be held accountable for his actions.
“We lost a hero today,” Adams said. “She was murdered on duty in an unprovoked attack.”
Governor Kathy Hochul directed flags on state buildings to be flown at half-staff in honor of Russo-Elling.
“We remember Lt. Russo-Elling’s life, honor her service, and pray for her loved ones,” Hochul tweeted.
Meanwhile, Councilmember Tiffany Cabán, who represents the district, also offered her sympathies.
“This is a horrible, heartbreaking story,” Cabán tweeted. “My deepest condolences to the loved ones of the victim, and to every EMS who courageously safeguards the health of our city, day in and day out.”
It is the votets who can stop this senseless violence from.continuing to happen.
Vote out all Democratic Socialists who push the no bail law.AOC, Tiffany Vaban, K. HOCHUL!, Schumer, Max Rose etc…..All these Democratic Socialidts are running on isthd abortion platf I rmnin all their ads. NOT CRIME. ABORTION is not under atfack in NY State.
If the Supreme Court did not hand the states back control of abortion where it should have been in the first place. What Platform would these Dem. SOCIALISTS run on? Tk add insult to injury bring s Sanctusry city is costng the taxpayer a bundle to houzmse all the illegals sent here. Even Biden had been sending illegals here and around the country by plane and bus sincce late last year.
Not just the Tex Gov. BIDRN has flown thdm in unannounced to Westchester Airport until found out. Now they have resumed at Orange County Airpott it was revealed.
What useless, meaningless words from our elected officials.
These elected officials have ALL BACKED BAIL REFORM IN SOME WAY, SHAPE OR FORM. Bail reform, without any question has drastically increased crime. And yet, knowing that bail reform drastically increases crime, these out of their mind elected officials have the audacity to act like they care when people are injured or murdered by violence:
Mayor Eric Adams: “her attacker will be held accountable for his actions. We lost a hero today. She was murdered on duty in an unprovoked attack.”
Governor Kathy Hochul “directed flags on state buildings to be flown at half-staff in honor of Russo-Elling.” and “We remember Lt. Russo-Elling’s life, honor her service, and pray for her loved ones,” Hochul tweeted – Flying flags at half staff is a form of remembrance and respect. Hochul IS LITERALLY THE GOVERNOR OF NY STATE. If Kathy Hochul cared about Russo-Elling or any of the other thousands of innocent victims of violent crime in NYC she would immediately undo bail reform. Words are useless here. Show us you actually care Kathy Hochul.
And this one is the craziest of them all from Tiffany Caban: “This is a horrible, heartbreaking story,” Cabán tweeted. “My deepest condolences to the loved ones of the victim, and to every EMS who courageously safeguards the health of our city, day in and day out.” Honestly Caban, how stupid do you think we are?! Just yesterday LIC Post published an article where Caban demanded the NYPD throw away its records of NYC gang members. What will Caban do when these thugs and gangsters do what they do and harm people in the name of some lizard brain gang loyalty? Simply tweet her useless condolence?
These elected officials can fix the crime within 6 months (undo bail reform and begin arresting and holding criminals for simple crime and above). Think about it; in less than 1 year the government convinced millions of people to safeguard against COVID-19, wear face masks and get vaccinated. How…they educated people and they instilled fear in people. If our politicians wanted to end this inhumane crime problem they could do it. They would educate people on what happens if you commit a crime and if people continue to break the law, there would be consequences. It’s really not hard. The most concerning problem is that our democrat politicians absolutely do not want to fix the problem.
Couldn’t agree more with you. It’s a total disgrace. As long as they get re-elected, it won’t matter in their eyes. Literally they will continue to do the same thing (speak w no actions) until they see voters have had enough. So it’s up to us to get loud and make change. It is a very sad, pathetic time when our leadership is so ineffective and pretends to be in our corner. It’s sadder for us to believe then and shameful we don’t make a change.
The murderer has no prior record so bail reform didn’t impact this senseless killing at all
Correct. How we’re handling schizophrenics (give them medication and send them on their unsupervised way) is a whole other conversation.