According to Police Chief James Essig, at approximately 2:10 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 29, at the corner of 20th Avenue and 41st Street, Russo-Elling was getting food nearby the EMS station she was assigned to about half a block away. Police say that five minutes later, 34-year-old Peter Zisopoulos brandished a knife and viciously attacked her, stabbing her numerous times.
Russo-Elling was transported to Mount Sinai Queens, where she succumbed to her injuries.
The scene outside the station house on Sept. 30 served as a grim reminder of the tragedy that occurred less than 24 hours prior. Officers came to and fro, lugging large evidence bags from the precinct into a squad car.
It is unlikely that Zisopoulos will go before a judge Friday for arraignment, according to a spokesperson for the Queens district attorney’s office, who added that Zisopoulos is being taken to the hospital for evaluation.
Zisopoulos, dressed in a white bodysuit, remained silent with his head down as he was whisked out of the 114th Precinct with cuffs on his wrists and chains around his ankles. Members of the press pleaded with Zisopoulos for answers to the crime, however, he refused to offer any.
According to police, an eyewitness chased Zisopoulos as he tried to flee the crime scene on Thursday. Zisopoulos ran into 19-80 41st St. and locked himself in his third-floor apartment. Police hostage negotiators were able to talk him out of his apartment where he was apprehended and later taken to the precinct in Astoria.
Mayor Eric Adams held a press conference at Mount Sinai Queens in Astoria along with Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell and Fire Department of New York (FDNY) Acting Commissioner Laura Kavanagh to brief the public on the brutal crime.
Kavanagh said that members of EMS serve only to help people and save lives, making this attack senseless and heartbreaking.
“To be attacked and killed in the course of helping others is both heartbreaking and enraging for our department in ways I cannot describe,” Kavanagh said. “Lieutenant Russo exemplified FDNY EMS. She was a World Trade Center first responder; she was cited multiple times for her bravery and lifesaving work. She was absolutely beloved on this job.”