You are reading

Astoria Man Arrested for Fatal Stabbing of EMS Lieutenant in Ditmars Thursday

An Astoria man has been arrested and charged with murder for the brutal stabbing of Alison Russo-Elling Thursday (Photos: FDNY)

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.


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.”

Russo-Elling’s body being removed from Mount Sinai Thursday (Photo: FDNY)

email the author: [email protected]

5 Comments

Click for Comments 
MRLIC

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.

Reply
CuriousinQueens

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.

16
3
Reply
Anonymous

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.

1
2
Reply
RJV in NYC

The murderer has no prior record so bail reform didn’t impact this senseless killing at all

Reply
Astoria Resident

Correct. How we’re handling schizophrenics (give them medication and send them on their unsupervised way) is a whole other conversation.

Reply

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Popular places where you can watch the big game in Queens

Feb. 2, 2023 By Tammy Scileppi

Hey, football fans! Game time is fast approaching, and across the city and here in Queens, you can feel the excitement brewing as the two teams prepare to take the field on Super Sunday, Feb. 12. So, kick back and watch the big game, and don’t miss Rihanna’s exciting performance during halftime. 

Borough president hears from community members on budget needs throughout Queens

During a two-day public hearing on the mayor’s 2024 preliminary budget, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. listened to testimonies from 14 community board representatives, community stakeholders and members of the public on where the money should be spent in Queens. 

The public hearings were held both in-person and via Zoom on Monday, Jan. 30, and Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Queens Borough Hall. The testimonials will be used to develop the Queens Borough Board’s FY24 preliminary budget priorities in the coming weeks. 

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

Long Island City teen sentenced in fatal shooting of ‘beloved’ school teacher at Queensbridge Houses in 2020: DA

A Long Island City man on Friday, Jan. 28, was sentenced to 19 years in prison for the 2020 fatal shooting of a public school social studies teacher who was out walking his dog when he was caught in the crossfire during a confrontation between gang rivals in broad daylight, just blocks from his home, according to Queens District Attorney’s office.

Ike Ford, 19, of 12th Street, in Long Island City, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the first degree before Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder. The teacher, George Rosa, 53, was shot in his abdomen by a stray bullet fired by Ford, who was just 17 years old at the time of the shooting but was sentenced as an adult given the severity of the crime, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

LaGuardia Community College receives federal funding to expand vocational training for the unemployed

LaGuardia Community College recently received more than $400,000 in federal funding to enhance and expand vocational training for underemployed New Yorkers in a city that is still working to recover from COVID-19 pandemic-induced job loss. The support was secured by U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and former Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney.

LaGuardia Community College President Kenneth Adams explained that the school lost nearly a quarter of its students at the height of the pandemic due to the economic effects of the lockdown on low-income Queens households.

BP launches new advisory panel for youth to become civically engaged in the future of Queens

In an effort to get more young people involved in civics, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards has created a new advisory panel known as the Youth and Young Adult Council to introduce the “youngest and fiercest” community advocates to both community service and organization.

Members of the advisory body will advocate concerns through means of community engagement by participating in one of two cohorts. The first will be made up of high school representatives between the ages of 13 and 17, while the second cohort will be comprised of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.