ASTORIA, Queens (WABC) — A suspect has been taken into custody after a 61-year-old FDNY Emergency Medical Services lieutenant was stabbed to death in Queens on Thursday.
The incident happened near the intersection of 20th Avenue and Steinway Street in Astoria around 2:15 p.m.
Police say the victim, identified as EMS Lt. Alison Russo-Elling, was stabbed to death in an unprovoked attack while on duty and standing outside the FDNY EMS station 49.
They say the suspect, wearing a light gray t-shirt, pulled out a knife and stabbed Russo multiple times.
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She was taken to Mount Sinai Queens Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
According to police, the suspect then fled the scene and ran towards 19-80 and 41st Street and barricaded himself inside his third floor apartment.
Members of the Hostage Negotiation Team and Emergency Services Unit removed the suspect from the building.
The police made him cross the street. He had no trace of emotion on his face.
Neighbors describe him like this, as a loner they would often see walking, expressionless, around the block.
“He seemed to have a routine,” neighbor Camilla Groth said. “Just walking around the block, maybe two or three blocks, always lonely, not on the phone, never talking to anyone and always alone and very self-sufficient. And I noticed that .”
But now he is accused of incomprehensible violence. An unprovoked attack on an official.
He was taken into custody with charges pending.
Meanwhile, the 25-year-old FDNY veteran was also a 9/11 first responder.
“We have lost one of our heroines, she served the city for over 24 years, her attacker has been apprehended and will be held accountable for his actions,” said New York Mayor Eric Adams.
There was a wave of emotion and sympathy outside the hospital.
When it was learned that an EMS lieutenant had been attacked on the job and did not survive, FDNY EMS members gathered at the hospital to console each other and grieve.
Acting Fire Marshal Laura Kavanaugh and an FDNY chaplain led a prayer circle in the area where ambulances go to the hospital. There were lots of tears and hugs.
Russo’s body emerged from an emergency room Wednesday night surrounded by uniformed FDNY personnel.
The FDNY Firefighters and Fire Officers associations released a joint statement in response to Russo’s death:
“Alison Russo’s death is a tragic reminder of the dangers faced by all members of the FDNY and uniformed services. Her senseless killing brings sadness to all FDNY members. We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the Department with our heads bowed, and we will always be here to support our FDNY family during this unspeakably difficult time.We extend our deepest condolences and condolences to Alison’s family, loved ones and colleagues.
NYPD and the Fire Widows & Children’s Benefit Fund, also known as Answer the Call, announced that it would provide Russo’s family with $50,000 to help them financially.
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