LUTZ — The Pasco County Sheriff's Office is searching for a man who shot another man in the face with an airsoft gun in what appeared to be a hate crime.
Just after 3 a.m. Wednesday, the victim and his girlfriend were walking into the Walmart at 1575 Land O'Lakes Blvd., when a man approached and asked if he was from the Middle East, according to a Sheriff's Office report. The victim said no.
The man asked if the victim was Muslim. Again, no.
"N----- with a white girl," the man said, pulling the airsoft handgun from his jacket.
He fired at least 20 rounds of BBs, repeating the racial slur, while the victim and his girlfriend ran for the store, the report states. Two of the rounds hit the victim in the face. The victim's girlfriend was not injured, the Sheriff's Office said.
The man, described as between 20 and 30 years old with short blond hair and wearing blue jeans, a brown jacket and green sandals, fled west toward Dale Mabry Highway.
The victim was treated for minor injuries at the scene.
The Sheriff's Office has not released the name of the victim. By Wednesday afternoon, no arrests had been made in the case.
Sheriff's spokesman Doug Tobin said the case is being treated as a hate crime. He said the agency is working with Walmart to get surveillance video from the parking lot.
Anyone with tips about the case can call the Sheriff's Office at 1-800-706-2488.