NEW YORK (AP) — A longtime emergency medical worker with New York City’s fire department who was a first responder on Sept. 11 was killed in an apparently random stabbing in broad daylight, police said Thursday.
The stabbing happened at approximately 2:15 p.m. in Queens, about a half-block from the station where FDNY EMS Lt. Alison Russo-Elling was assigned, according to police.
The 61-year-old Russo-Elling was wearing clothes that would have identified her as EMS personnel, officials said, and was heading to a corner store to get something to eat when a 34-year-old man stabbed her multiple times. She was taken to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Police didn’t speculate on a motive for the attack and didn’t immediately identify the suspect.
“Members of EMS serve only to help and save other people’s lives,” Acting Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said at a news conference. “To be attacked and killed in the course of helping others is both heartbreaking and enraging for our department in ways I cannot describe.”
“She served the city for 25 years. She was a World Trade Center first responder. She was cited multiple times for her bravery and her life-saving work. And she was absolutely beloved on this job,” Kavanagh said.
Russo-Elling was appointed to the FDNY as an emergency medical technician in 1998 and was promoted to paramedic in 2002 and to lieutenant in 2016, the FDNY posted on Instagram Thursday.
There were two eyewitnesses to the attack who knew the assailant, and one of them gave chase, police said. The man fled to the third floor of his nearby residence and barricaded himself inside. He eventually was talked into coming out and taken into custody.