Pasco County deputies are investigating an attack outside a Walmart as a hate crime. It happened around 3 a.m. Wednesday at the Walmart at 1575 Land O’Lakes Blvd in Lutz. Deputies say a man and a woman in their 20s were heading out to their car in the parking lot. Another man, also in his 20s, approached them and asked them a series of questions.
“The first question to the male was 'are you of Middle Eastern descent?’ ” explained Doug Tobin, spokesman for the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office. Tobin said the male victim responded, “No, I’m not.” Then the man asked another question: “Are you Muslim?” The victim again responded, “No, I’m not a Muslim.” Deputies say the suspect then yelled a racial slur, alluding to the fact the victim was “with a white woman.”
Then the man pulled out a BB or air soft gun.
“The suspect shot about 20 rounds of this air soft/Pellet gun, toward our victims. Fortunately, they weren’t seriously hurt. But it’s a serious crime,” Tobin said. The man was hit twice in the face. He was treated on the scene and released, and the woman he was with was not hurt. Surveillance cameras caught the attack. The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office is working with Walmart to get that video.
And btw, the racial slur was of course the “N-Word.”