ASTORIA, Queens (PIX11) — The suspect accused of stabbing and killing veteran FDNY Lt. Alison Russo remained at Bellevue Hospital Saturday awaiting his arraignment.
Sources told PIX11 that 34-year-old Peter Zisopoulos may not be physically present for the criminal proceeding. Instead, the accused attacker could be charged via video conference with the judge.
Friends said Russo had talked about retiring from the job, but she never got the chance to after police said Zisopoulos stabbed her to death in a random and unprovoked attack just steps away from her station house in Astoria, Queens, on Thursday.
“It’s overwhelming. I’m still in shock,” said a friend named Jackie.
Sources said Zisopoulos has a history of mental illness. He is now facing murder charges. The accused attacker was taken into custody after a standoff with police and later transferred to two area hospitals, where he underwent a psychiatric evaluation.
Those who knew Lt. Russo said she loved helping people. Aside from her city job, she also volunteered for her local ambulance corps and risked herself as a 9/11 first responder. Russo was also a mother.
“Keep my mother in your thoughts, pray for my family and remember her for the hero she was because that’s truly who she was, and she died doing what she loved,” her daughter said.
Following the murder, firefighters and EMTs have paid tribute to their fallen colleague in her hometown on Long Island. Some expressed outrage at the dangers they face on the job. Just five years ago, EMT Yadira Arroyo was killed in the Bronx while in the line of duty.