By Rob Frehse, Liam Reilly and Claire Colbert, CNN
An on-duty emergency medical technician with the Fire Department of New York was stabbed to death in Queens Thursday afternoon while on break, city officials announced.
Alison Russo-Elling, a 25-year-veteran of the FDNY, was working at her EMS station when she went to get food, officials said.
The suspect stabbed Russo-Elling, 61, numerous times before fleeing the scene and barricading himself at his nearby residence, New York City Police Department Chief James Essig said at a press conference.
Members of the NYPD’s Hostage Negotiating Team and Emergency Services Unit were able to talk the suspect out of his apartment and take him into custody, Essig said.
Arraignment on formal charges is pending.
Acting FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh called the incident a “barbaric and completely unprovoked attack.”
“To be attacked and killed in the course of helping others is both heartbreaking and enraging for our department in ways I cannot describe. Lieutenant Russo exemplified FDNY-EMS,” Kavanagh said. “She served this city for 25 years. She was a World Trade Center first responder. She was cited multiple times for her bravery and her life-saving work. And she was absolutely beloved on this job.”
Kavanagh said Russo-Elling was the 1,158th member of the FDNY to die in the line of duty.
“Our hearts break for our entire department and her family,” Kavanagh said.
NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said it was the “latest consequence of the violence that we relentlessly fight in our city.”
“We can never tolerate this violence in our city,” Sewell added. “It has to and will be stopped, and we will never forget the brave women and men who put their lives on the line to keep the rest of us safe.”
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CNN’s Kristina Sgueglia contributed to this report.