Couple recalls downtown assault as the "fight of their lives"

Published On: Jan 30 2014 05:12:28 PM PST   Updated On: Jan 30 2014 06:57:03 PM PST
Bruce and Billie Palmer
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Bruce and Billie Palmer, the couple attacked by a group of teens in downtown Spokane Monday, is speaking out about the assault which they call the "fight of their lives."

The Palmers were attacked as they tried to drive home from dinner at the Steam Plant Grill Monday around 8 p.m. They were driving down an alleyway and as Billie was putting on her seatbelt a group of teens surrounded their car.

"A grandpa and grandma, 18 grandkids, jumped by a punch of teenage thugs," the Palmers said Thursday morning.

"One of them slammed really hard into the back of the minivan and I jumped," Billie said. When she rolled down her window, one of the teens, "stuck his head into my window and yelled, 'B-word, you f-ing, B' you hit me."

No one was hit, but they were concerned so they got out of the van and that's when things quickly escalated.

"Immediately began pressing into us, just daring us to defend ourselves, they had no respect for the fear for the law or consequences, they were just out for blood," Billie said.

Billie says one of the teens started punching her husband. To protect himself Bruce grabbed the 17-year-old and held him down while they waited for police to arrive. Billie says a group of at least 10 circled around yelling and cursing.

"I really thought they were killing him, they were punching his face, they were punching the back of his head," Billie said.

Bruce sustained several injuries, including a broken nose, and blood was pouring from his face. Billie tried to protect her husband. One teen, she said, reached his hand back like he was drawing a weapon.

"I just jumped into his face and said over my dead body," Billie said.

Police arrived and arrested the teen who first punched Bruce on 4th degree assault charges.

The Palmers say what happened to them isn't right and they hope sharing their story will prevent this from happening to someone else.

"Our hope is that what we endured will actually begin the start of something where we begin to take our streets back," Bruce said.

The Spokane Police Department says this incident is very rare and, in fact, violent crime in downtown is down 25 percent from last year. In light of what happened to the Palmers they've stepped up patrols in downtown Spokane this week.

Police say this is an ongoing investigation and they are continuing to conduct interviews with the other teens. There is a possibility those teens could be charged as well.