Coworker of slain FDNY EMS lieutenant says 'no one should have to be afraid' about being attacked

Monday, October 3, 2022
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Family, friends, and coworkers gathered together to honor Allison Russo-Elling after she was stabbed to death in an unprovoked attack. NJ Burkett has more.

ASTORIA, Queens (WABC) -- Family, friends, and coworkers gathered together to honor Allison Russo-Elling after she was stabbed to death in an unprovoked attack.

Her coworker, Michael Greco, is now speaking out, saying no one should have to be afraid of this kind of attack.

"We got 4,500 members of FDNY EMS who aren't doing very well in getting their head around the sort of senseless violence," says Greco.

Greco says there are times when the grief is unbearable. He worked alongside Russo-Elling for seven years. The job has its risks, he says - but this was unimaginable.

"Nobody should have to worry about that risk when going about the course of a day," said Greco, "not that kind of risk - you know, the vicious, violent way that Allison lost her life, nobody in the world deserves - especially any first responder."

Russo-Elling was murdered just steps from her EMS station in Astoria, Queens. She was confronted on the sidewalk for no obvious reason, then stabbed two dozen times in the chest.

Police arrested Peter Zisopoulos, 34, a neighbor with a history of mental illness.

"There's a lot of words I want to say, but he doesn't deserve three seconds of airtime from my mouth," said Greco.

Greco, who is the union vice president says Russo-Elling should be remembered for how she lived - an upbeat, dedicated person who managed extreme stress with humor.

"We all have a screw loose, every single first responder. So it's just different screws. And when you find somebody whose screw is loose in the same way your screw's loosened, and there's no better feeling," Greco adds.

In the course of her career, Russo-Elling likely responded to upwards of 20,000 911 calls, delivered multiple babies, and saved numerous people from heart attacks.

"There are people walking this Earth, thanks to Alison Russo because their life was saved by this angel, with no face no name. And they are walking around thanks to Alison," said Greco.

Her wake will take place in Commack on Monday and Tuesday. Her funeral will take place in Brookville on Wednesday morning.

The man arrested for her murder remains under psychiatric evaluation at Bellevue Hospital. His arraignment on murder charges could come later this week.

ALSO READ | How Mayor Adams plans to deal with NYC mental health crisis

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