A 28-year-old Long Island City man, Nikolaos Katsos, was charged with third-degree assault and harassment while police search for more suspects in the alleged assault of an interracial couple early Saturday morning.
The couple said they were leaving Shi restaurant, located at 47-20 Center Boulevard, with a gay friend after 1:30 a.m. when they were attacked by three men who screamed racial and homophobic slurs.
Billie and Jacob James-Vogel said that they and a gay friend had been celebrating Billie James-Vogel’s 40th birthday.
They say three men from a nearby car began hurling homophobic and racist slurs at their group before physically assaulting them.
Jacob James-Vogel suffered a black eye and a head injury; his wife had a broken toe and other bruises.
Billie James-Vogel said she fears her attackers might return.
“In this day and age, in this neighborhood, it just kills me,” she said of the racial slurs.
Police are continuing to investigate this incident as a hate crime and are looking for others involved.
The charges against Katsos could be upgraded.
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Anyone with information on the case should contact the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS