A veteran EMT, who was a World Trade Centre respondent on September 11, 2001, was stabbed more than 20 times by an assailant at 20th Avenue and 41st Street in Queens. Lt. Alison Russo-Elling was out for food when she was attacked at random in broad daylight.
Police said the incident happened around 2:15 pm, on Thursday, about a half-block from the station where FDNY MES Alison Russo-Elling was assigned. Horrific surveillance footage from the scene revealed that Russo-Elling was knocked to the ground by a knife-wielding maniac who stabs her repeatedly as she lies helplessly on the ground.
Authorities said the attack was unprovoked. The 61-year-old was pronounced dead at the Mount Sinai Queens Hospital. Acting FNDY Commissioner Laura Kavangh described the attack as "barbaric". She said EMS members only serve to save and preserve other people's lives. "To be attacked and killed in the course of helping others is both heartbreaking and enraging for our department in ways I cannot describe."
Who is Alison Russo-Elling?
New York City Mayor Eric Adams tweeted that Alison Russo-Elling was a 25-year veteran of FDNY EMS. She was murdered in an unprovoked attack while on duty. Russo-Elling lived on Long Island and worked out of Station 49 in Astoria.
Vincent Variale, president of Local 3621, told reporters that she was about six or seven months away from retirement. Variale described Alison as the sweetest, kindest person one has ever met. "She was also very brave." Russo-Elling joined the FDNY as an EMT in March 1998. In 2002, she was promoted to a paramedic and in 2016 she stepped into the shoes of a lieutenant. Through her career, she worked out of numerous EMS stations – Station 20, 17, 16, 45, and Queens Tactical Response Group as well as Station 49.
Russo-Elling responded to the World Trade Centre when the September 11, 2001 attack happened. She aided the rescue and recovery efforts of victims. A former colleague who worked alongside her in Queens said Russo-Elling's death was heartbreaking. Captain Mike Daddona of EMS Station 58 in Canarise, said it's a terrible loss. "It's not the way to go, not for her. She was part of 9/11/. He shared that Alison was someone who deeply cared about all the people she served as well as her fellow EMTs.
Stabber in Custody
Police said one of the two eye witnesses to the attack who knew the accused gave chase whereby the authorities were able to nab him. The suspect, wearing a light gray t-shirt, fled into his third-floor residence on 41st Street and barricaded himself. The 34-year-old was taken into custody after members of the hostage negotiating team and emergency unit were able to talk him out of the building.
A neighbour Camilla Groth described the stabber as a loner who often walked expressionless around the block. "He seemed to have a routine. Just walking around the block maybe a two or three block radius, always solitary, not on his phone, never talking to anyone and always by himself and just very self-contained."
Police are continuing with investigations to determine the motive of the crime. The suspect is yet to be charged.