A hero Emergency Medical Service Lieutenant (EMS) and World Trade Center first responder has died after being stabbed to death by a man who slammed her to the ground while she was out grabbing lunch.
Alison Russo-Elling, 61, was killed on duty at about 2.20pm on Thursday in what has been described a ‘vile and barbaric’ stabbing, by a person allegedly known to the patient she was helping.
The deadly incident took place in broad daylight when a male, 34, wearing a light grey shirt and dark pants brandished a knife and viciously stabbed her numerous times about her body.
It’s believed the mother was out ‘getting food nearby’ when she was knifed to death.
Mayor Eric Adams said tonight that the suspect has been arrested and ‘will be held accountable for his actions.’
Tributes flowed for the FDNY front line worker as flags have been lowered half-mast to honor the courageous woman.
One person wrote: ‘DAMM STRONG WOMAN. Thank you for your service. It was a privilege to work with you back since the 90’s!
Emergency Medical Service Lieutenant and World Trade Center first responder, Alison Russo-Elling (pictured), 61, has died after being stabbed while rendering aid to a patient in Queens
Russo-Elling’s picture was released by colleagues on Thursday evening by the New York City Fire Department detailing her long career as a front line worker
The EMS lieutenant, who was also known for her work as a World Trade Center first responder, was then rushed to Mount Sinai Queens, where she was pronounced dead at 3.06pm
New York City Mayor Eric Adams (center) gave his condolences to the city of New York, Russo-Elling’s family and friends and colleagues
Acting Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh called the incident heart breaking and ‘barbaric’
‘I’m angry your life was taken from you so young, working so hard. You dedicated your life to service of all humans, through COVID, through mental health, through all trauma and illness putting your life on hold for others.
‘You deserved better, your daughter deserved more time with you.’
Another said: ‘Killed while serving the people of NYC. After serving as a volunteer EMT since the 90’s and serving the people of New York City for almost 25 years.
‘She didn’t deserve this.’
In an official statement from the New York City Fire Department Russo-Elling’s death has been used as a stark reminder of the dangers faced by emergency services workers.
‘The death of Alison Russo is a tragic reminder of the dangers faced by each and every member of the FDNY and uniformed services,’ the statement read.
‘Her senseless killing brings sorrow to every member of the FDNY. We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the Department with bowed heads, and we will forever be here to support our FDNY family in this unspeakably difficult time.
‘We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to Alison’s family, loved ones, and colleagues.’
New York City Mayor Eric Adams gave his condolences at a press conference at Mount Sinai Hospital to the city of New York, Russo-Elling’s family, friends and colleagues.
‘We lost one of our heroes she provided a service for this city for over 24 years,’ he said.
‘Her assailant has been apprehended and will be held accountable for his actions.
‘She was on duty at the time she was brought here to Mount Sinai Hospital where she passed away due to her injuries.’
She posted multiple pictures with her mum (left) and dad (right) on social media and was beloved by her family
In an official statement from the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) Russo-Elling’s death has been used as a stark reminder of the dangers faced by emergency services workers
She was known for many acts of bravery in her time as a front line responder including her work with the World Trade Center
The Mayor’s office say they lowered ‘all flags’ to half mast in Russo-Elling’s honor
Tributes from colleagues were seen across Facebook to remember the ‘courageous’ EMS member
Acting Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh called the incident heart breaking.
‘At 2.20 pm today Lieutenant Alison Russo was on duty at station 49 while outside her station she was stabbed multiple times in a barbaric and completely unprovoked attack,’ she said.
‘Members of EMS serve only to help and save other people’s lives to be attack and killed in the course of others is both heart breaking and enraging for our department in ways I cannot describe.
‘Lieutenant Russo exemplified FDNY EMS she served the city for 25 years she was a World Trade Center first responder and was sighted multiple times for her bravery and lifesaving work and she was absolutely beloved in this job.’
Russo-Elling was the 1,158th member of the FDNY to die in the line of duty and the second member of EMS to die in the line of duty in the past 5 years.
She is the 1158 member of the FDNY to die in the line of duty and the second member of EMS to die in the line of duty in the last 5 years.
Preliminary information shows that the suspect, who was spotted by two witnesses who knew the perpetrator, was seen running to his home where he barricaded himself inside.
Once inside his home the man was talked out of his residence before being taken into police custody.
Police say Russo-Elling was rendering aid to a patient in the Astoria neighborhood at 2.20pm, when the emotionally disturbed relative of the patient stabbed her multiple times in the neck.
The EMS lieutenant, who has worked for the Fire Department of New York for more than 20 years, was then rushed to Mount Sinai Queens, where she was pronounced dead at 3.06pm.
The chief of detectives for the New York Police Department, James Essig, said at a news conference that the EMS worker had been on a break just minutes before being stabbed.
‘Today at approximately at 2:15 pm an on duty at the corner of 20th avenue and 41st street an on duty EMS FDNY lieutenant was viciously assaulted with a knife causing her demise,’ he said.
‘At 2:10 pm that EMS lieutenant was on her break and was going to get food nearby.
‘She was assigned to an EMS station approximately one half block away and was attired and clothed which clearly indicated that she worked as an FDNY EMT.’
Police were seen remaining on the scene of 20th Avenue near 41st Street Thursday afternoon as they took a suspect into custody.
Police cordoned off the area in which the 61-year-old EMS lieutenant was stabbed while rendering aid to a patient in Astoria, Queens
Authorities say the incident happened at 2.20pm in the Astoria neighborhood
Police say the woman was killed by a mentally ill relative of the patient she was treating
The incident comes as crime in the Big Apple is up over 33 percent from last year.
Driving the increase is a more than 37 percent increase in the number of robberies, and a 32.4 percent increase in burglaries.
Felony assaults are also up 16.6 percent over last year, while grand larcenies are up a whopping 43 percent.
But the mayor had fled the crumbling city over the weekend to visit hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, which he refers to as New York’s ‘sixth borough.’
Adams arrived in Puerto Rico on Saturday night to survey the damage from Hurricane Fiona and reassured the people there that New York City is ready to provide immediate assistance.
He returned from the trip on Tuesday, after telling San Juan Mayor Miguel Romero that Puerto Rico is the ‘sixth borough of New York. We’re tied at the hip.’
But Adams’ words were criticized on social media by many New York residents who said the mayor should be focusing on the city’s five boroughs instead.
And a woman who was punched to the ground by a homeless career criminal at a Queens subway station lashed out at the mayor for the trip as the city’s crime wave continues.
The 61-year-old later died due to her injuries at a local hospital
Police remained on the scene of 20th Avenue near 41st Street most of Thursday afternoon
A large contingent of law enforcement and FDNY was seen gathered after the stabbing
‘When we’re out there, we’re by ourselves, we’re fighting these battles by ourselves, and what they do, they go try to help other countries that have nothing to do with what we’re going through in our own place,’ Elizabeth Gomes, 33, told the New York Post.
She added: ‘Our city needs major help. We’re going through a lot here.
‘I remember hearing that they would have cops posted on platforms, riding the trains, cops down in a subway. Mayor Adams said especially in the subway,’ she said of Adams’ proposal to increase patrols.
But she said she now believes her injuries are proof that the mayor hasn’t put more cops in subway stations, saying ‘Obviously, the government or nobody is doing anything for us.’
The mother of five children said that ‘my life has changed, everything changed’ and that she’s ‘scared to even leave my house’ and doesn’t ‘even want to take the train.’
She said of her decade-long service at John F Kennedy Airport: ‘You know, I love my job so much, and part of me, like, doesn’t want to go back because I’m scared.’
Her husband, Clement Tucker, echoed Gomes’ previous worries that she may lose her eyesight in one eye.
Elizabeth Gomes (pictured), a security guard at JFK Airport was savagely beaten by a homeless career criminal at the airport subway station lashed out at New York City Mayor Eric Adams and local politicians for failing to stop the Big Apple’s crime wave
New York City Mayor Eric Adams arrived in Puerto Rico on Saturday to survey the damage from Hurricane Fiona and reassured the people there that New York City is ready to provide immediate assistance
Adams tours a village outside Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, which was damaged by Hurricane Fiona
Gomes arrived at the Howard Beach station in Queens, New York City, at around 5:15am on September 20.
Waheed Foster, 41, tried to start a conversation, but when she ignored him he flung himself at her – dragging her to the ground then kicking and punching her.
Foster, who was arrested for murdering his 82-year-old foster grandmother in a brutal beating at the age of 14, rained blows down Gomes as she cowered on the floor.
One man tried to come to Gomes’s aid, but Foster chased him away and then resumed attacking her.
He then walked away, leaving Gomes on the floor. The vagrant was arrested shortly after.
Gomes is seen being grabbed from behind by Waheed Foster, 41 – who she had ignored as he tried to speak to her when she got off the train
Foster, who beat his foster grandmother to death when he was 14, grabbed Gomes
Foster then kicked her as she lay on the ground, trying to shield herself
She said doctors told her she may lose her sight in her right eye, and she said she has been unable to sleep, left with a throbbing head.
‘Every day is an incident in the subway,’ she said. ‘What happened to all these police officer they said they will have there to protect us? There’s like nobody to be found. I don’t understand.’
She said Foster was muttering about Satan when he attacked her.
‘He’s talking about the devil. He’s talking about a whole bunch of nonsense,’ Gomes said.
Foster has been charged with felony assault.
He has two other pending criminal cases against him, on charges of criminal mischief and minor theft.