Among the many stories that were put aside, but not forgotten, amidst the devastation of Hurricane Sandy was the heartbreaking tale of Lou Rispoli, a gay 62-year-old Queens man beaten so badly early on October 20 that his family had to take him off life support five days later. And so with his killers still at large, local Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer on Saturday is holding a candlelight vigil to honor the fallen activist.
Rispoli, a "pillar of the gay community in Queens" and longtime resident of Sunnyside who worked at the Greenwich House Music School, had recently married his partner of 31 years. They'd met on the subway and had raised two daughters together. "Lou was a very proud gay man and someone who worked for equality," Van Bramer recalled at a press conference the day Rispoli was taken off life support.
Rispoli, and insomniac who enjoyed long walks at night, was attacked around 2 a.m. on October 20th. According to reports he "was hit in the head with a blunt object with such force that neighbors who heard the assault but did not see it thought he had been shot." He appears to have been attacked by two men while a third kept watch, but details remain slim. Anyone with any information on the incident is asked to call Crimestoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS. There is now a $25,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the individuals responsible for his death.
In the meantime, Saturday's march will start at 51st Street and 43rd Avenue at 4 p.m. and will go to 41-00 43rd Ave., where Rispoli was fatally attacked. Those attending are asked to bring candles.