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Armed man of T&T parentage refuses to return fire in attack
A 24-year-old man of Trinidadian parentage has survived an apparent race hate attack in Florida. Cameron Mohammed was with his girlfriend last week outside Walmart in Lutz, Florida at 3 am when he was shot by a man who believed he was Muslim. The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said 25-year-old Daniel Quinnell walked up to Mohammed in the department store and asked him if he was Muslim or from the Middle East.
Mohammed’s denial, as he was raised Catholic and born in Tampa, was not enough to spare him being shot in the face at close range by Quinnell’s “gas-propelled pellet gun” as seen in the video footage released by the sheriff’s department. Despite carrying a .45-calibre Taurus pistol during the incident, and being a holder of “a concealed weapons permit for five years,” Mohammed chose not to retaliate and left his firearm holstered.
Mohammed, in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times last Friday, said: “I don’t know. I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t blow this guy away for something he could change later in life. I’m not going to decide this man’s fate.” Quinnell ran away after shooting Mohammed. The voiceover in the video footage stated Quinnell fired “at least 20 rounds of BBs, repeating a racial slur.”
Mohammed’s girlfriend was uninjured because she followed his advice from a conversation months before. Mohammed said he told her if they were ever in a dangerous situation, she should keep quiet and find safe cover. In the video footage, viewers can see Mohammed’s girlfriend running away. The Tampa Bay Times stated she disappeared behind a column, safe from fire.
Quinnell was arrested last Thursday, after his mother called the police hotline to say he was hiding in a hotel room in Land O’Lakes. Quinnell has a history of violence, as his criminal record indicated he has been arrested ten times in Florida since 2006 and many of the arrests involved battery charges and violent threats, as the Tampa Bay Times outlined in its article.
Quinnell, who is married since 2010, has been arrested twice on charges of domestic battery and twice on charges of violating domestic violence injunctions. As a felon, Quinnell was banned from carrying firearms, which is the reason he gave to the police as to why he had the pellet gun. Even after the police informed him that Mohammed was not Muslim, Quinnell said he didn’t care, and that “they’re all the same.”
The police say they have evidence to classify the case as a hate crime, elevating the charge to a first-degree felony. The Tampa Bay Times said Mohammed was scheduled to remove the pellets on Monday—one over his left eye and the other under his jaw.
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