A longtime veteran of the New York City Fire Department’s Office of Emergency Medical ServicesThursday in an unprovoked attack during his lunch break, police said. A suspect has been taken into custody.
Lt. Alison Russo-Elling, a 25-year veteran of the FDNY EMS, was stabbed multiple times Thursday afternoon while on duty in Queens, New York City Mayor Eric Adams said during a a press conference.
The 61-year-old woman was rushed to a hospital in Queens, where she died of her injuries, Adams said.
Russo-Elling was receiving food on her break, while wearing clothes that clearly indicated she was a member of the FDNY, when a 34-year-old man pulled out a knife and stabbed her repeatedly, the report said. NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig.
Two people who know the perpetrator witnessed the attack, and one of them chased him to his third-floor residence, where he barricaded himself, Essig said. The suspect was evicted from the apartment by members of a hostage negotiation team and taken into custody. His name was not immediately released.
The investigation into the attack is ongoing, police said.
Acting FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh called the attack on Russo-Elling — who served as the World Trade Center’s first responder on 9/11 — “barbaric and totally unprovoked.”
“EMS members are only for helping and saving other people’s lives,” she said. “Being attacked and killed while helping others is both heartbreaking and infuriating for our department in ways I cannot describe. Lt. Russo exemplified FDNY EMS. She served this city for 25 years, she was a World Trade Center first responder, she was cited many times for her bravery and lifesaving work and she was absolutely adored in that job.”
Russo-Elling was the 1,158th FDNY member to die in the line of duty and the second EMS member to die in the line of duty in the past 5 years, Kavanagh said.
NYPD Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell said the city mourns the loss.
“This deadly, senseless, broad daylight attack on a uniformed EMT member is a direct attack on our society,” she said. “This is the latest consequence of the violence we are relentlessly fighting in our city.”
Russo-Elling joined FDNY as an EMT in 1998, the department said. She was promoted to lieutenant in 2016.