Fla. shooting considered a hate crime

Jan. 2, 2013 at 1:51 PM

LUTZ, Fla., Jan. 2 (UPI) -- The pellet-gun shooting of a man of Middle Eastern descent at a Walmart is being investigated as a hate crime, the Pasco County, Fla., Sheriff's Office said.

The man was leaving the store in Lutz, Fla., early Wednesday morning in the company of a white woman when he was confronted by a white male who shot him twice in the face with a pellet-type gun, Tampa Bay Online reported Wednesday.

The suspect used racial slurs as he attacked the victim, Pasco Sheriff's Office spokesman Doug Tobin said, and is being sought by authorities.

The woman was not injured, and the victim, whose name was not released, was treated at the scene, Tobin said.

Later Wednesday the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations called on the FBI to investigate the attack, with Executive Director Hassan Shibly saying "it seems to fit a disturbing pattern of recent incidents targeting Muslims in Florida and nationwide."

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