A Queens man and prominent figure in the local gay community who was beaten while out for a walk last weekend has died after being taken off life support, and police are continuing to search for his attackers. NY1's Ruschell Boone filed the following report.
Mark Horn and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer were longtime friends of Louis Rispoli. They're hoping more witnesses will come forward with information on his attackers.
Horn and Van Bramer say the 62-year-old was taking a late night walk on Oct. 20 when someone saw two men attack him at around 2 a.m. Rispoli died Thursday night after being taken off life support.
"For someone to be so cruel and so cowardly as to take the life of someone who is so good, it just, it makes me sick," Horn said.
"What happened to Lou is awful, is a horrifically violent crime, and we have to make sure the people who did this are punished and taken off the streets," Van Bramer said.
According to Van Bramer, the witness also said Rispoli may have gotten out of a car with several people and was walking towards 4100 43rd Avenue when he was struck from behind.
"He believes Lou was one of them who got out of a white two-door car about half a block from here," Van Bramer said. "He saw them get out. He saw one man stay by the car to act as a lookout."
Rispoli was an administrator at the Greenwich House Music School and was well known in the Queens gay community. Police are looking into whether Rispoli's sexual orientation played a role in the attack. The Queens District Attorney is also investigating.
"I'm heartsick and I'm angry," Horn said. "This is a man who was a pillar of this community for 30 some odd years."
Hours after Rispoli's death, Horn and Van Bramer canvassed the neighborhood looking for tips. Before long, they say they got one from a person they wouldn't identify, who said they'd already been in touch with the police.
There is now a $12,000 reward for information leading to an arrest or arrests in this case. Anyone with information on the case should contact the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS, or text CRIMES and then enter TIP577, or visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.