Oct. 6, 2022 By Christian Murray
The man who allegedly stabbed a high-ranking EMS worker to death in Astoria last week has been indicted on murder and other charges, the Queens District Attorney announced Thursday.
Peter Zisopoulos, of 20th Avenue in Astoria, is accused of fatally stabbing Alison Russo-Elling, a 25-year veteran of the FDNY Emergency Medical Services, on Sept. 29 without provocation. He allegedly approached Russo-Elling near EMS Station 49 on 20th Avenue, knocked her to the ground, and stabbed her repeatedly before fleeing the scene. The incident was caught on tape.
“This is a tragic case and a devastating loss for the family as well as our City,” said Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz in a statement. “FDNY EMS Captain Alison Russo-Elling spent her 25-year career helping others in their time of need. Now, her family mourns her passing because, as alleged, the defendant brutally stabbed Ms. Russo-Elling to death near her workstation in Astoria.”
The indictment comes a day after thousands of first responders attended Russo-Elling’s funeral that was held at the Tilles Center at LIU Post on Long Island. Paramedics carried her coffin, which was draped in a red and white paramedic flag, while the department’s bagpipes played.
Mayor Eric Adams was in attendance, and she was posthumously promoted to FDNY EMS captain during the ceremony.
Zisopoulos, 34, was arraigned Thursday via video from Bellevue Hospital on a two-count indictment charging him with murder in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree. He faces up to 25 years-to-life in prison, if convicted.
According to the charges, Zisopoulos approached Russo-Elling, who was in uniform and on-duty, at around 2:10 p.m. while she was walking down 20th Avenue, between 41st and Steinway Streets. He allegedly pushed her to the ground and stabbed her more than a dozen times before fleeing the scene.
The incident was captured on video surveillance and there is no indication that the two knew one another prior to the attack.
Zisopoulos then ran to his third-floor apartment nearby and barricaded himself inside. A short time later, members of the NYPD’s hostage negotiating team and emergency service unit were able to talk to him and he surrendered without further altercation.
Russo-Elling was rushed to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead as a result of the injuries sustained from the attack.
#BREAKING Suspect in murder of FDNY EMS Lt. Alison Russo-Elling in custody & taken out of 114 NYPD Precinct in Astoria, Queens.
— Linda Schmidt (@LSchmidtFox5) September 30, 2022