TAMPA - Tampa Police are investigating an attack on a Wal-Mart shopper that may have involved a stun-gun and may have been a hate crime.
According to police spokesperson Laura McElroy, the woman said she was shopping at the Wal-Mart on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard about 9 p.m. on New Year’s Day.
She said while she was shopping, she felt a sharp stinging sensation in her back.
“Since then, she has reported to us that she believes she was ‘tasered’ and she does have marks on her back that are consistent with marks that a ‘taser’ would leave,” McElroy said.
According to Hassan Shiply, spokesperson for the Council on American Islamic Relations, the victim is a 62-year-old Muslim woman from Pakistan.
Shiply said the woman believes she may have been targeted because she is Muslim and wearing a shalwar, a traditional form of Muslim dress.
McElroy said surveillance video from the store shows the possible attacker following the victim, although the video does not show the attack itself.
Police are focusing right now on finding the attacker. If they are able to do that, then they will determine if the motivation for the attack might be considered a hate crime.
The attacker would face a battery charge. If police say it is a hate crime, that would enhance the penalties, in accordance with Florida law.
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