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Victim of attack, named, mourned and likely to die

Lou Rispoli

Oct. 25, 2012 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 or texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

Rispoli Statement

email the author: [email protected]


Click for Comments 
Get a Life

I hope the police are also looking outside the immediate area to figure out where this poor man encountered these hoodlums. This is a shockingly violent and senseless crime.


Prayers for the family. Enough with all your policitical crap. There is a time and place for all that and it should not be here. There Is a family in pain. Let them mourn for their love one.


This is a sad story. I hope the perpetrators are caught – and quickly. I hope they blabbed their mouths off and somebody reports it to the police. I also used to go out late for a brisk walk – no more!

V. Rispoli

Do you all realize how insensitive some of you are. Our family is hurt enough already and those of us that live far away are looking for any information we can find. To read all of the comments after these articles is difficult. Find another place to work out your issues on polotics and your need have the last say. Allow us to find comfort in the kind words of those that care.

Alma Kaselis (Kuzma)

I think it doesn’t matter these details now. What matters that the man was killed. No reason to kill. I am sorry, but when I hear and these stories I hate to be human.

Sunnyside watcher

You all forgot the fact that he was not robbed and that they may know each other? Why come towards 40ths when you live on 50th st.?

Family and friend

Although I don’t live in Sunnyside, or NY for that matter, I came across this blog as I was reading the article about Louie.
It’s heartwarming to hear the words of kindness during this difficult time. I can only hope that as we all blog or simply read the blog, we realize our audience and respectfully add comments.
My heart is filled with sorrow, but as I recall the amazing and wonderful memories throughout the years, I can focus on my good thoughts and prayers for Louie.

Girl Power

No one should use personal reasons to squelch free speech. This is not a memorial for the man, it is not a gathering of his friends. It is a neighborhood newspaper comments section. It is the virtual public square, not a private gathering of friends.

If you can’t stand the incident being put into a larger context, stop reading the comments. Stick to the news.


@Fed Up

PS Fine, I’ll make you happy and go away. All I did was to suggest that people’s lives are equal and their tragic deaths should be regarded the same. I would have thought that in enlightened, progressive Sunnyside, that would be a good thing. Seems not.


@Fed Up

Troll is what people call someone they disagree with and who won’t bend to their bullying. I thought democracy and free speech was about a robust discussion, not just people nodding their heads and agreeing with each other piously. Groupthink is what Orwell called it.

Fed Up

I asked Ich_bin_ein_Sunnysider: “Is it really so important that you be right, rather than being kind?”

And he has given his answer. Being right is more important to him.

I’m done. Ich_bin_ein_Sunnysider is a troll. An important internet rule is, don’t feed the troll.

I’m done engaging with him. I gave it one reasoned and polite shot, and he responded in a reflexively defensive and insensitive manner.

My advice to the rest of the people visiting this page is, ignore him too. He’s only here to make himself feel like a big man and get a reaction with his strawman arguments and “provocative” questions.

He’s not worth our time.


@Fed Up

You criticize me for bringing up the death penalty for whoever did this. How is that “rude and insensitive” to the victims friends and family? Perhaps some of them would also like to see the perps suffer the most severe penalty possible.

you all make me laugh

I am waiting for a resolution. So many things about the story don’t make sense right now. Let just hope they catch the people that did this and execute them, otherwise a parole board may let them out to commit more violent crimes against an innocent public. Like i’ve said on this board for months, criminals need to be executed….. Good people like Lou are being taken away on a daily basis because liberals believe in rehabilitation instead of punishment..

Oppressed Masses

A terrible tragedy which should distress every resident of Sunnyside. There’s no magic bullet that will solve this crime; the identity of the attackers will be learned only by boots to the ground police work. Anyone who may have been in the area midnight or later last Friday should think about whether they may have observed a group of men or a white car with male occupants driving about, and contact the police. You never know what tidbit of information may help the detectives to ultimately identify the SOBs who committed this horrible act.

We should all be reminded that life indeed is very fleeting.

Fed Up


Really, enough. You may very well think that you have a valid argument against the idea of hate crimes. I’m sure there are people who would agree and people who would disagree. But you really should stop and think about the forum in which you have chosen to continually, almost singlemindedly, bring up this subject.

Many of the people who are reading and responding to these comments have made it clear that they know this man personally are care for him deeply. Has it not occurred to you that antagonistically pursuing your personal/political/whatever agenda is at best insensitive, and perhaps downright cruel? Is it really so important that you be right, rather than being kind?

Yes, you have expressed some sympathies for Lou and his family and friends, but even that seems to be primarily a launching pad for you to share your thoughts on the death penalty.

All the news items on this tragic event have made clear that there is much still to be known. Yet you act at time as if hate crime charges have been filed. In fact at time you seem to be acting as if you were in court trying to dismiss the entire notion of hate crime legislation.

This website is in many ways functioning as a gathering place for those who know Lou and are processing their grief. Perhaps before you post again, ask yourself “Would I say this if I was in a room with these people?” The internet is no excuse for rudeness and insensitivity.



It’s a legit question.

If we are going to have hate crime laws, shouldn’t there be specifics about them and how they are to be applied? Or is it just according to political correctness?


Ich_bin_ein_Sunnysider… I almost gained some semblance of respect for you after that first comment…the you came to your senses and started saying stupid things again. You must be a very sad person.


If it turns out the victim was killed by another gay man, is is still a hate crime?


It is very simple, even if there is no video recording in the area, there must be tens of cameras in surrounding areas where it can pick up a white car, driver, etc.. Who brought up “white car”? Was there a witness? If so, it should be easy to narrow down.

Did Lou carry a cellphone with him? What kind of investigation is being done, they can’t just say “case has been slowed because there is no video of the attack or of the victim.” What kind of nonsense is this? Were there cameras 20 years ago? But there are cellphones that keep track of where the phone was which towers it was connected to, easily finding his last location. Come on cops, work a little… -harder.


@craic dealer

I don’t consider it a fumble believing that all victims of violent crimes such as this should be considered equally tragic and deplorable, regardless of of who they know. Perhaps you do.

Craic Dealer

@Ich_bin_ein_Sunnysider: Trying to recover that previous fumble, huh? Anyway, this crime is vicious and the people responsible will be brought to justice whether its by the People or the police. I’m hoping the People get to them first.

Barb Conroy

prayers for Lou and his family. Hoping this case is solved quickly. Sunnyside is a great place to live and we all want to keep it this way…


“Lou Rispoli, a married gay man, went out for a walk at midnight Friday to ward off his insomnia. Sometime after 2am he arrived at 42nd St. and 43rd Ave, in what is now being described as a white two door car. He walked to the location with two of the passengers who are said to be in their 20’s. A much taller man stayed with the car to act as a lookout.”

This paragraph is confusing. He went out for a walk but arrived somewhere in a car, he then walked again to some location, his home perhaps, the address previously mentioned? Something is missing. Can the writer be a bit more clear?


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