A suspect has been arrested for allegedly shooting a Walmart customer in an incident that is being investigated as a possible hate crime.
Pasco County Sheriff's deputies have arrested Daniel Paul Quinnell for aggravated battery charges in the shooting..
Late Thursday afternoon, investigators released surveillance video from the Lutz Walmart that showed the shooting. Detectives said the suspect walking out of the store saw another man with his Caucasian girlfriend in the parking lot and questioned him about his race.
"He had asked him if he were of Middle Eastern decent, and he said no -- because he's not. He asked him if he was Muslim. and he said no -- because he's not," Detective Lisa Schonerman said Thursday; the victim was born in the United States and his parents are from Trinidad.
Investigators say the suspect yelled racial slurs, took out a pellet gun and shot at least twenty times. Sheriff Chris Nocco said, "It's shocking. These types of crimes. When you seer these occur on video. That brazen. Just pulling out the gun and shooting somebody, it's brazen."
Schoneman made the arrest sometime Thursday night into Friday morning, according to sheriff's spokesperson Doug Tobin. Schoneman said Thursday that despite the circumstances, it was too early to call the incident a hate crime and it's being investigated to see if the suspect may have had other motives.
It was not known Friday morning if the released video led to Quinnell's arrest.
The victim, whose name has not been released, was shot in the head and neck. Schoneman said, "The victim said to me ... 'I thought that was it.' He said, 'I thought I was dead and my life was over and this was all it was going to be. He's very upset."
If you have any information about this crime, you're asked to call Crime Stoppers or the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. There's was a $1,000 reward for information leading to a suspect's arrest and conviction.
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