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Judge rules man accused of killing FDNY EMS lieutenant unfit to stand trial

Peter Zisopoulos repeatedly stabbed Lt. Alison Russo-Elling as she walked from her station to a deli


FDNY EMS Lt. Alison Russo-Elling.


By Bill Carey

NEW YORK — A Queens judge has ruled that the man accused of fatally stabbing veteran FDNY Lt. Alison Russo-Elling on Sept. 30, 2022, remains unfit to stand trial.

Prosecutors say Peter Zisopoulos stabbed Russo-Elling multiple times as she was walking from her EMS facility at Station 49 in Astoria to a nearby deli, the Queens Daily Eagle reported.

Queens Supreme Court Justice Ira Margulis questioned Zisopoulos during a hearing on Monday. When Margulis asked about video evidence, Zisopoulos previously called “police bulls–t,” and stated that he believed the police created a fake video showing him stabbing Russo-Elling.

Zisopoulos also told the judge that the police did not like him.

“I don’t see how he can assist in his defense,” Margulis said.

Approximately two dozen firefighters and EMS personnel were in the courtroom during the hearing. Among them was Vincent Variale, the president of the Uniform EMS Officers Union Local 3621.

“He is playing games to say that he is not ready to testify,” Variale said. “We just heard him answer every question very coherently and sane.”

Prosecutors argued that Zisopoulos was fit to stand trial based on his apparent understanding of the criminal process. Margulis disagreed. 

Zisopoulos was remanded with an order for a new mental health exam.

The assessment will be reviewed in court on Sept. 27.

RELATED: Slain FDNY EMS Lt. Alison Russo devoted herself to volunteer agency for 30 years