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NYC Gay Activist Murder Spurs Charges of Hate Crime

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November 2, 2012

A gay man is dead after a brutal attack in New York City in what the New York Police Department has yet to classify as a hate crime. Two men attacked longtime Sunnyside resident Lou Rispoli, a 62-year-old gay man, with a blunt object at 2 a.m. on Oct. 20 outside of 41-00 43rd Ave. Rispoli was taken off life support on Oct. 25, and died in Elmhurst Hospital.

“That such a man, whose life has touched so many so deeply, should be struck down so violently is incomprehensible to us. And as Lou lays dying surrounded by those who love him, we find ourselves speechless with grief and disbelief,” Rispoli’s family said in a statement the day before he died.

Rispoli was seen walking sometime after 2 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 20 on 43rd Ave. between 41st and 42nd St. in the neighborhood, a largely Irish working-class enclave in Queens, one of the five boroughs that make up New York City. Suddenly, two men came upon him and struck him on the head with an unidentified blunt object.

“Neighbors said that when his head hit the ground, people thought it was a gunshot, that’s how loud it was,” said Queens City Council Member Daniel Dromm, who represents nearby Jackson Heights/Woodside. “I didn’t really know Lou all that well; he was more involved in Jimmy’s district, but the crime does bring back memories of the terrible hate crime against Julio Rivera.”