2013-02-06 / Front Page

Sunnysiders Search For Murder Suspects

By Liz Goff

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer last week joined the husband and friends of a Sunnyside man who was fatally beaten in October, to distribute more flyers showing NYPD sketches of two suspects sought in connection with the murder.

 “We haven’t given up. We will never give up in trying to find the men who took Lou Rispoli’s life,” Van Bramer said.

Rispoli, a 62-year-old gay activist, was beaten to death with a blunt object outside an apartment complex at 41-00 43rd Avenue at about 2 a.m. on October 20, police said.

He was last seen by an unnamed witness, walking with two men on 43rd Avenue between 41st and 42nd Streets (near his residence), police sources said.

As another man waited outside a car parked nearby, the suspects hit Rispoli on the head, police said. The three men jumped into the car and fled in an unknown direction.

Rispoli suffered grave injuries and was placed in hospice care. He passed away from his injuries on October 26.

Police officials released sketches of the suspects on January 25 (see sketches.) Van Bramer joined Rispoli’s husband, Danayal Lawson, at rush hour on January 29, to distribute the flyers to straphangers at the 40th Street-Lowery Street, 46th Street-Bliss Street and 52nd Street stations of the No. 7 subway line with the hopes that someone will recognize and identify the suspects.

“Our community will never forget what these men did to Lou Rispoli,” Van Bramer declared. “The NYPD’s release of new sketches shows that there is progress being made on this case, but it si important we continue to raise awareness as a community.

“These suspects think that they got away with a crime that robbed us of a good man who loved his neighborhood. I will not rest until I see these men punished for this heinous crime,” Van Bramer said.

Investigators have so far not determined if the murder was a hate crime.

Rispoli, an administrator at Greenwich House Music School in Manhattan, was active in both the Sunnyside community and gay rights activities in communities throughout Queens.

Rispoli and Lawson, who were partners for more than 32 years, were legally married one year ago.

“It’s senseless and a really horrible thing,” Lawson said. “Lou was taken from a lot of people and there’s a lot of sorrow out here.”

Lawson said he is not seeking revenge, but closure, in the arrest of the suspects and described the months since the murder as “very difficult.”

Police are urging anyone with information on the suspects to call the Crime Stoppers HOTLINE or click on www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.

The NYPD, the Mayor’s Office and the Crime Stoppers HOTLINE are offering a $22,000 reward to anyone with information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspects.

An additional reward of $3,000 is being offered by a coalition of private citizens, bringing the total reward to $25,000.


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