March and Candlelight Vigil Planned for Slain Gay Activist

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska and Andrea Swalec  on November 16, 2012 11:10am

QUEENS — A march and candlelight vigil has been planned this weekend for a gay activist who was beaten to death on a Sunnyside street last month.

Lou Rispoli, 62, who worked as a music school administrator, was on 43rd Avenue Oct. 20 when two men approached him, struck up a brief conversation, then hit him in the head with a blunt object, witnesses told City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. A third man was seen keeping watch.

Rispoli — who recently married his partner of 32 years — died five days later after his family took him off life support.

“This type of heinous attack has no place in our community,” said Van Bramer, who was Rispoli's friend, last month a press conference. “This incident has struck home for all of us and we need the public to come forward with any information regarding this crime.”

Greenwich House Music School, where Rispoli worked as concierge and data manager for about two years, said in a statement the school “mourns the loss of [a] dear friend and colleague, Lou Rispoli, whose caring and upbeat nature brought smiles to the faces of most everyone he encountered in his daily work at the School."

No one has been arrested, police said. A $25,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the persons responsible for the crime.

Van Bramer is inviting residents to honor the late activist on Saturday. 

Rispoli was a “pillar of the gay community in Queens,” Van Bramer said. "Lou was a very proud gay man and someone who worked for equality."

Saturday’s march will begin at 4 p.m. at 51st Street and 43rd Avenue in Woodside. Participants will march to 41-00 43rd Avenue in Sunnyside, the site of the attack.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

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