NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – City leaders are asking for the public’s assistance in tracking down whoever is responsible for the violent beating of a gay man in Sunnyside, Queens over the weekend.
Lou Rispoli, 62, was so badly beaten in the assault that his family decided to take him off life support on Thursday, with friends and family at his bedside, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.
Friends remembered Rispoli as a pillar of the gay community in Queens.
“During the AIDS crisis in the 80s, he was at the bedside of so many men,” said friend Mark Horn.
WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reports
Rispoli’s friend and Queens City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said Rispoli was not robbed in the attack, and urged anyone who may have seen the assault to come forward. Police have not yet determined a motive for the attack.
“To see Lou in his hospital bedroom is to see a level of violence and depravity that you could not imagine exists. And whoever did this has got to be taken off the streets,” Van Bramer told Diamond.
Rispoli was viciously beaten on 43rd Avenue near 41st Street in Sunnyside sometime after 2 a.m. on Saturday, according to police.
No arrests have been made in the case but according to Van Bramer, a witness saw three men walking with Rispoli before two of them struck him in the back of the head.
Authorities said after Rispoli fell to the ground, the three men jumped into a car and took off.
“We know that there must be other people who saw or heard something,” Van Bramer said.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn joined Van Bramer Thursday in calling for the public’s help in tracking down whoever was behind this attack.
Rispoli’s family released a statement Thursday, urging anyone with information to come forward.
“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,” the statement read in part.
“We want to thank Council Speaker Quinn and Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer for their tireless support, as well as the city police department detectives for their vigorous pursuit in search of those who have robbed us of this special man, husband and friend,” the family’s statement said.
Rispoli had recently married his partner of 31 years and went down to Borough Hall on the day gay marriage was made legal in New York to celebrate, Van Bramer said.
“And he had a great shirt that said ’31 years.’ He had ironed it himself onto his shirt,” Van Bramer said.
Police have not yet found any surveillance tape showing the attack, Van Bramer said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD at 1-800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.
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