Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Suspect Sketches Released in Murder of Gay Rights Activist

Lou RIspoli. Family photo.

On October 20, 2012, gay rights activist Lou Rispoli was beaten to death by three men in Sunnyside, Queens. Rispoli, 62, clung to life in the hospital for four days until family members made the difficult decision to take him off life support. “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,” said close friend Queens City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.

Rispoli’s murder remains unsolved, but police hope that newly released sketches of two male suspects will bring them closer to making arrests. The sketches were created with the testimony from an eyewitness, who reportedly saw three men walking with Rispoli before two of the men struck him in the head with an object. The suspects then jumped into a car and fled. Police say one suspect is described as a white male in his 20s with short hair and the other is described as a Hispanic male in his 30s, also with short hair.

Rispoli’s friends and family have been passing out hundreds of flyers showing the sketches. His partner of 32 years, Danyal Lawson, told the Daily News, “I’m glad they are still working on finding the people who did this violent crime,” said Danyal Lawson, 60, his partner of 32 years. “If they did this to Lou, they could do this to somebody else.”

Rispoli and Lawson married on July 24, 2011, the first day same-sex marriage became legal in New York state.

Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD at 1-800-577-TIPS, or online at the NYPD Crime Stoppers Website.

Suspect #1: A Caucasian male in his 20s.


Suspect #2: A Hispanic male in his 30s.

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