Three men were responsible for the October attack that left a Sunnyside man dead. Now police have released sketches of two of the men that beat and killed Louis Rispoli.
Just a few blocks from where he was attacked, Danyal Lawson, Rispoli’s husband and partner of 32 years, handed out the police sketches to commuters exiting the 7 train at the 40th Street Station last week
“A wonderful person was taken from a lot of people and there is a lot of sorrow out there,” said Lawson.
According to a firsthand account of the crime, the two men were walking with Rispoli at roughly 2 a.m. on October 20 in front of 41-00 43 Street when they suddenly attacked him from behind.
Police found Rispoli in critical condition. He died five days later from his injuries.
A third individual, who police have not obtained enough information on to provide the public with a sketch, was waiting in a nearby vehicle to help the two escape.
“For me it’s not about revenge,” Lawson said. “It’s about closure. So until they catch these people there will never be closure.”
Rispoli was an AIDS activist and was heavy involved in the gay rights movement. Speculation has surrounded the attack on Rispoli was because of his sexual orientation and may have been a hate crime.
Rispoli was also involved in the Sunnyside community. Over 500 people attended a candlelight vigil shortly after his death.
“I was really happy when the vigil happened,” Lawson said. “That was amazing how many people came out for that.”
The vigil was organized by Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, a friend of Rispoli, who was standing with Lawson last week to pass out the sketches to evening commuters.
Van Bramer said that it felt like the criminals were never going to be brought to justice because of the lack of leads.
“At least we have [sketches] now,” he said. “There were some mistakes made at the beginning of this investigation, and I believe they are investigating those.”
Lawson said that the sketches did not resemble anyone he met or knew during his 32 years with Rispoli, leading him to believe Rispoli didn’t know his killers either. Lawson said he hopes catching these two will help save lives.
“Hopefully, this won’t happen to somebody else,” he said.
A reward of $22,000 is being offered to anyone with information that leads to an arrest and conviction. Tipsters can call (800) 577-TIPS.