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CBS2 Exclusive: Woman Says She, Mom Were Mistaken For Couple, Attacked At Midtown Restaurant

UPDATED 09/18/15 12:09 a.m.

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A woman said she was just going out for a late-night dinner with her mother, when they were apparently mistaken for a couple and brutally assaulted in an anti-gay attack.

As CBS2's Matt Kozar reported exclusively Thursday night, Tiffany Santiago and her mother were looking for a quiet place to grab a bite to eat, so they picked a Korean barbecue restaurant on the East Side. But they had no idea they would be viciously attacked inside."

"I got six stitches in my knee," said Santiago, 27.

Days after the attack, Santiago was wobbly even with her cane. She said it would be several days before she could even go back to work as a veterinary technician.

"We keep hearing the word 'lesbian' said over and over again," Santiago said.

CBS2 Exclusive: Woman Says She, Mom Were Mistaken For Couple, Attacked At Midtown Restaurant

She said she and her mother were attacked around 1 a.m. Saturday at BarKogi, on Second Avenue at 51st Street, by a group at a nearby table who started yelling anti-gay slurs and throwing things.

"Me and my mom look very similar in age, and so I think me with the short hair, and my mom's really tall – she's like five-eight; she's a big lady," Santiago said. "I think they thought we were on a date."

Santiago said the fighting escalated from shouting into shoving, and then an all-out brawl.

"He threw me across the restaurant," Santiago said. "I don't even know how far I went, but I went through tables, chairs, glasses."

She said her attackers were drunk, and said the restaurant owner – who also appeared drunk – did little to help.

When asked for comment, the owner would not speak to CBS2.

Meanwhile, until she is ready to go back to work, Santiago, who loves animals, is caring for her cats.

She said they give her comfort.

"For a while I was just really hurt," Santiago said. "I cried just for a while."

Santiago said her mother suffered some cuts and bruises, but did not go to the hospital. She is hoping someone recognizes the suspects and calls police.

Police released a surveillance video of three suspects.

Police describe the first suspect as a white balding man in his mid-40s, about 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighing 180 pounds with a beard. He was last seen wearing a long sleeve shirt and jeans.

The second suspect is described by police as a white woman in her mid-30s, about 5 feet 7 inches tall, 130 pounds with dirty blonde hair. She was last seen wearing light-colored shirt, black pants and light-colored high heel boots.

The third suspect is also described as a white woman in her mid-30s, about 5 feet 7 inches tall, 120 pounds with long wavy black hair. She was last seen wearing a white tank top, black pants and black high heel boots.

The three suspects were seen on surveillance video outside the restaurant.

Midtown Bias Attack Suspects
Surveillance images of three suspects who police say attacked a woman inside a restaurant in Midtown. (credit: NYPD)

The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force was investigating late Thursday.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visit or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

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