NEW YORK CITY — A New York City paramedic that responded to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, was posthumously promoted to captain at her funeral Wednesday after being fatally stabbed last week.
On Tuesday, acting FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh announced that Lt. Alison Russo-Elling would be posthumously promoted after she was stabbed multiple times last Thursday in an "unprovoked attack," the New York Fire Department said in a statement.
According to officials, Russo-Elling, who was on duty, was walking to a corner store to get something to eat when she was stabbed by a 34-year-old man, later identified as Peter Zisopoulos, the Associated Press reported.
The fire department said the 61-year-old was transported to Mount Sinai Queens Hospital, where she later died.
Zisopoulos was charged Friday with murder and criminal possession of a weapon, the news outlet reported.
The motive for the stabbing is still under investigation, the Associated Press reported.
“Russo was everything we look for in a leader in our department," Kavanagh said in a statement. "A dedicated and accomplished veteran of 25 years, she responded to thousands of emergencies, mentored many new EMTs and paramedics, cared deeply for the communities she served, and set an incredible example for others at Station 49 and at every station she called home throughout her outstanding career. This posthumous promotion is a sign of our deep respect and admiration for all the courageous and selfless work she did throughout her career. We will never forget her.”
According to uniformed EMS officers union president Vincent Variale, the nearly 25-year New York City Fire Department veteran was about six or seven months away from retirement before she died, the Associated Press reported.
In March 1998, Russo-Elling joined the fire department as an EMT. She was then promoted in 2002 to paramedic before becoming a lieutenant in 2016, the news outlet reported.
Russo-Elling is the second emergency medical worker to be murdered in New York City within the past five years and the 1,158th member of the fire department to die in the line of duty, ABC News reported.