BEDFORD-STUYVESANT, Brooklyn - He was just trying to protect a friend, but instead he became the center of an attack in Brooklyn beaten up so badly he suffered a broken jaw.
In an exclusive interview the victim is speaking out, saying that what started with a group yelling anti-gay slurs ended with a vicious beat down that cops are now calling a bias attack.
"I'm a gay man living in the area, and it makes me feel nervous and not entirely surprised," said Craig Campbell, Bedford-Stuyvesant resident.
Campbell is learning to watch his back and he's not alone.
Less than 72 hours after a social worker was taunted with anti-gay slurs and punched in the face on a street corner, NYPD detectives released surveillance video of their suspect. They say he's 5'10" and roughly 200 pounds.
It happened when several gay men from a nearby nightclub were confronted outside this fast food restaurant early Saturday morning.
The victim spoke with Eyewitness News by phone, but asked not to be identified.
"We're hearing eight different voices saying different things, death threats, homophobic slurs, all of that. I'm there silent, I'm really trying to figure a way out, and the next thing you know I get punched in the jaw by somebody who I didn't even notice was a part of the situation. He came from across the street, hit me in my blind side and I got punched," the victim said.
The victim is 27 years old and works for the city's Department of Homeless Services. Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke with him Monday morning.
"He was in good spirits, obviously, very troubled by what he went through, but in good spirits, will be getting additional medical care soon. He'll need surgery," Mayor de Blasio said.
"It's not that rare around here," said Benjamin Williams, Bedford-Stuyvesant resident.
Williams has lived there his entire life. Lately, he says gay men have been harassed by local gang members.
"The gang members don't like gay people," Eyewitness News Reporter N.J. Burkett said.
"Exactly, exactly, that's what it's all about," Williams said. "It happens all the time around here."
The victim says he is determined to see the suspect captured and punished.
"I will pursue this to the fullest extent of the law. And one way or another, you will learn to respect people for who they are," the victim said.