A Middle Eastern man was shot 20 times in the face with an AirSoft BB pistol at 3:30 a.m.on Wednesday while shopping with his white girl friend in a Lutz, FL, Walmart. Many witnesses were present and the incident was caught on video. Luckily for the man — who survived and is recovering — his assailant was not only bigoted, but also incompetent, and only managed to hit him twice. For safety reasons, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office has not released the video or any information about the young couple, who are in their 20’s. You can read the incident report here.
According to the televised news report from an appalled Melanie Michael of Tampa Bay’s WTSP Channel 10 News (a smart, attractive blond who comes across like a real person who’s visibly upset about the shooting, not a Foxy NewsBot), the incident was clearly a hate crime:
The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office is investigating this case heavily, because it’s considered a hate crime … The shooter saw the couple and was “relentless,” said Pasco Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Doug Tobin. The shooter […] spotted the man and his girlfriend and began screaming at them, taunting them, and yelled out racial slurs, detectives say. He asked the young man if he was Middle Eastern and if he was a Muslim. Then the suspect pulled out the pellet gun and opened fire, calling the man a “n—– with a white girl.”
The perpetrator was described by witnesses as white, blond, in his 20’s, and last seen wearing a brown jacket, blue jeans, and green sandals. Although the Sheriff Department loosed the hounds, the shooter managed to escape their canine unit.
Despite all the bad things we’ve been hearing from Florida lately — what with all the racist voter suppression and ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws — the community is clearly shocked and outraged about the incident. “This will not be tolerated in Pasco County,” said Sheriff Chris Nocco on Wednesday morning. “We are putting all of our resources into solving this.”
Hassan Shibley, executive director for Tampa’s Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), has also called for a federal investigation. “We urge the FBI to investigate this case, because it seems to fit a disturbing pattern of recent incidents targeting Muslims in Florida and nationwide.”
According to a December 12th, 2012 article for Think Progress by Jeff Spross, hate crimes against perceived Muslims rose 50% in 2010 “largely as a result of anti-Muslim propagandizing” and have only decreased “slightly” since then.
Here’s the video from WTSP, Tampa Bay’s Channel 10 News:
|Elisabeth Parker is a writer, Web designer, mom, political junkie, and dilettante. Come visit her at ElisabethParker.Com, “like” her on facebook, or follow her on Twitter. For more articles by Elisabeth, click here.|