Firefighters, EMS providers crowd NYC funeral home to salute medic killed on duty

“We are so sad,” said FDNY Chief of Department John Hodgens. “The members of her station looked up to [Alison Russo]. She kept them in line.”


Leonard Greene
New York Daily News

NEW YORK City — EMTs and firefighters crowded into a Long Island wake to give a private goodbye Monday to one of their own, a beloved medic and mentor who was viciously stabbed to death on a Queens street while taking a lunch break during her shift.

“The department is here today to pay tribute to Alison Russo, who was a hero, a 25-year veteran of our department,” said FDNY Chief of Department John Hodgens.

“We are so sad at the way she died and also just to lose her,” he continued. “The members of her station looked up to her. She kept them in line. She was known affectionately as the ‘mother hen’ of her station.”

Acting Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh joined Russo’s colleagues at the Commack Abbey Funeral Home in Commack. Hundreds of mourners bearing the FDNY badge stood in the rain in tribute to the slain EMT who had been a World Trade Center responder and a local volunteer.

Kavanagh told mourners that Russo, 61, was as much a hero as anyone who has ever put on the uniform, and said the FDNY would do more to protect its first responders.

“The department, with any loss of our member in the line of duty, does do a safety investigation and does make recommendations, and that will absolutely be done in this case,” she said. “A lot of what we talked about is what a hero she was and how much she has given to the city and what an impact her life made.”

Among the mourners paying respects at the first of two wakes before Wednesday’s funeral was Mayor Adams.

The mayor quietly slipped in and out of the funeral home without any public comments but has been outspoken about Russo’s death and attacks on first responders.

Russo was on duty when she was stabbed Thursday afternoon near her station in Astoria. Officials said she was on her way to a corner deli to get something to eat when Peter Zisopoulos, 34, attacked her, stabbing her more than 10 times. She was taken to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Zisopoulos was charged with murder and criminal weapon possession in the seemingly random attack. He remains at Bellevue Hospital, where he is undergoing a psychiatric evaluation. He was awaiting a bedside arraignment.

He had no prior arrests.

Russo’s funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Tilles Center in Brookville.

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©2022 New York Daily News

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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