Victim of attack, named, mourned and likely to die
By Bill Parry
At an emotionally charged press conference in his Queens Blvd. office, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer identified the victim of Saturday morning’s gruesome attack on 43rd Avenue as 62-year-old Lou Rispoli.
“Lou is now dying at Elmhurst Hospital,” Van Bramer said. “He will not survive and this will be a homicide.” Van Bramer wouldn’t speculate whether the case was a bias crime at this time.
Lou Rispoli, a married gay man, went out for a walk (around 50th Street) at midnight Friday to ward off his insomnia. Sometime after 2:00am, he arrived at 42nd St. and 43rd Ave in a white, two-door car with three other men. The men got out of the car and two of the passengers walked with the victim toward 41-00 43rd Avenue, while the third man stayed with the car and acted as a lookout. The men were described as being in their 20’s.
After an exchange of words, Rispoli was hit in the back of the head with a blunt object and fell to the sidewalk. Rispoli was not robbed, Van Bramer said.
Rispoli was removed from life support this week. “He is in hospice care and is as comfortable as he can be but he will not survive,” Van Bramer said.
Rispoli’s husband of a year and a half was not present at the press conference choosing to stay with the victim at Elmhurst Hospital. The two have had a relationship for 32 years. Friends and family were present and expressed satisfaction with the ongoing investigation by detectives and the 108th Precinct. The case has been slowed because there is no video of the attack or of the victim.
Originally from Manhattan, Rispoli made Sunnyside his home for the last 30-plus years according to friend and family spokesman Mark Horn. “He is a man of the arts having served as a personal secretary to composer Virgil Thomson’s in the 80s and 90s. ” Rispoli has also been a life-long poet.
Rispoli was an AIDS activist but his latest employment was not disclosed. He worked as a volunteer in Van Bramer’s campaign in 2009.
“This is a tragedy for the neighborhood, for the city and for his family,” Van Bramer said. “We don’t know if he was attacked because he was a gay man. In this neighborhood gay men and women can walk in safety without worrying about who they are…Yes, the public is safe but we always have to stay alert.”
Family and friends are urging residents who have any information pertaining to the case to come forward.
Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at (800) 577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.