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New York police renew hunt for suspects in 2012 murder of LGBT+ activist Louis Rispoli

Lily Wakefield November 28, 2020
Lou Rispoli

Louis Rispoli on his wedding day, the year before his death. (In memory of Lou Rispoli/ Facebook)

New York police have renewed their hunt for suspects in the murder case of LGBT+ activist Louis Rispoli, who was beaten to death eight years ago.

In the early hours of 20 October, 2012, Louis Rispoli was attacked in Sunnyside, Queens, while out for a walk to combat his insomnia.

Rispoli, who was well-known in his community for his LGBT+ activism, was approached in a car by three men, two of whom exited the vehicle and began speaking to him.

The situation quickly turned violent and one of the men struck Rispoli with an unknown blunt object, before the two attackers fled in the car.

According to an article from Gay City News at the time of his death, he was struck “with such force that neighbours who heard the assault but did not see it thought he had been shot”.

The 62-year-old was found unconscious by police shortly afterwards, and was rushed to Elmhurst Hospital, but he passed away there five days later.

After his death the New York Police Department (NYPD) released sketches of the two men who attacked Rispoli, and offered a $22,000 reward for information leading to a conviction. Eight years later, the reward is yet to be claimed.

On Wednesday 25 November, the NYPD re-released the sketches, hoping to finally identify the men. According to amNY, one suspect is described as a white man in his 20s, and the other a Hispanic man in his 30s.

Louis Rispoli
Police sketches of the two men thought to have murdered Louis Rispoli. (NYPD)

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers on 800-577-TIPS (or 888-57-PISTA for Spanish). Tips can also be submitted online to NYPD Crime Stoppers, or on Twitter @NYPDTips.

Louis Rispoli was a leader in his local LGBT+ community.

According to Gay City News, Louis Rispoli had lived in Sunnyside, Queens, for more than three decades.

His activism began in the 1970s as a member of the Gay Academic Union, and in the early days of the AIDS crisis he was the first in his neighbourhood to cook and deliver meals to those who were sick.

He was secretary to the legendary gay composer Virgil Thompson, and campaigned for gay New York City councilman and personal friend Jimmy Van Bramer.

According to close friend Mark Horn, Rispoli was a “loving and generous” person, who often opened his home during the holidays to those who had no family to go to.

After New York legalised same-sex marriage in 2011, the year before his death, Rispoli married his partner on their 31st anniversary. The couple raised two daughters together.

More: Louis Rispoli, murder, NYPD, Queens

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