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N.Y. gay rights leader, victim of brutal attack, dies after being removed from life support

N.Y. gay rights leader, victim of brutal attack, dies after being removed from life support

QUEENS, N.Y. — A prominent figure in the local gay community died Thursday after being removed from life support.

Lou Rispoli, 62, died from injuries sustained in a savage, early morning attack last week. Police are continuing to search for his murderers.

Lou Rispoli
Photo courtesy: NYPD

Rispoli, who worked as an administrator at the Greenwich House Music School and lived in the gay neighborhood of Sunnyside for the past three decades, was attacked at around 2 a.m. on October 20 on 43rd Avenue in Queens.

According to a published account by New York’s Gay City News, Rispoli 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.

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents Sunnyside, said two men attacked Rispoli. A third man is believed to have kept watch at their nearby car.

Police are investigating whether Rispoli’s sexual orientation played a role in the attack.

“Lou was a proud gay man,” Van Bramer said Thursday. “He fought for full equality for our community. But I don’t know if he was attacked because he was a gay man. This is a good and safe neighborhood where gay men and lesbians can walk the streets and be who they are.”

“That such a man who’s life has touched so many of us so deeply should be struck down so violently is incomprehensible to us,” said the victim’s friend, Mark Horn.

Rispoli is survived by his husband, who he married in August 2001 — on their 31st anniversary — after same-sex marraige was legalized in New York. The couple met on the subway in 1980 and raised two daughters together.

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