An on-duty emergency medical technician with the Fire Department of New York was stabbed to death in Queens Thursday afternoon while taking a break, city officials announced.
Alison Russo-Elling, a 25-year veteran of the FDNY, was working at her EMS station when she went to get food, officials said.
The suspect stabbed Russo-Elling, 61, several times before fleeing the scene and barricading himself at his nearby residence, New York Police Chief James Essig said at a news conference.
Members of the NYPD’s Hostage Negotiation Team and Emergency Response Unit were able to talk the suspect out of his apartment and take him into custody, Essig said.
Trial on formal charges is pending.
Acting FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh called the incident a “barbaric and completely unprovoked attack.”
“To be attacked and killed in the course of helping others is both heartbreaking and infuriating for our department in ways I cannot describe. Lt. Russo exemplified FDNY-EMS,” Kavanagh said. “She served this city for 25 years. She was a World Trade Center first responder. She was cited several times for her bravery and life-saving work. And she was absolutely loved at this job.”
Kavanagh said Russo-Elling was the 1,158. member of the FDNY who died in the line of duty.
“Our hearts break for our entire department and her family,” Kavanagh said.
NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said it was the “latest consequence of the violence that we relentlessly fight in our city.”
“We can never tolerate this violence in our city,” Sewell added. “It must and will be stopped and we will never forget the brave women and men who put their lives on the line to keep the rest of us safe.”