Billie and Jacob James-Vogel had just ended a joyous birthday celebration, when their fun evening took a tragic turn. As they left a Long Island City, N.Y. bar, the couple and a gay friend were attacked by a group of men.
The men hurled gay and racial slurs at the group before physically assaulting them just steps away from the restaurant.
According to NBC New York, the altercation began when one of the attackers kissed Billie James-Vogel, and her husband stepped in. James-Vogel and the man exchanged words before the couple was attacked.
Billie broke her toe and suffered other minor injuries during the assault; Jacob, who was celebrating his 40th birthday that evening, suffered a black eye, cuts and bruises.
Long Island City is a hip neighborhood in Queens, N.Y. and Billie told NBC she was shocked she and her husband were victims of what appears to be a hate crime.
“I’m afraid to walk down the street; I’m afraid they might come back for us,” she said. “In this day and age, in this neighborhood, it just kills me.”