A Pasco County man accused of a vicious hate crime is under arrest – thanks to his mother, deputies say.
After surveillance video was released of 25-year-old Daniel Quinnell's alleged attack, where he fires a pellet gun into the face of another man, his mother turned him.
It happened this week in a Walmart parking lot in Lutz. Detectives say Quinnell, who was arrested at a hotel Thursday night in the area of SR 54 and I-75, has admitted to the crime.
He said he was "lonely" and "having a bad night," and he took it out on an innocent man.
Detectives say the surveillance video broke the case wide open.
On the video, you see the moment Cameron Christopher Mohammed was shot in the face by suspected shooter Daniel Quinnell.
In his first TV interview, Mohammed tells FOX 13 what happened moments before the attack.
"He said, ‘Hey man, are you from the Middle East?' He started with the racial slurs and then pulled out the pellet gun," Mohammed said.
Mohammed and his girlfriend had just parked in the Walmart parking lot on Land O' Lakes Blvd near Lutz when they noticed a man approaching and yelling out questions.
Mohammed said it all happened so fast, the next thing he remembers is the shooting.
"First shot hit, and I moved. I figured, I'm still standing, it wasn't that hard of a hit," Mohammed said.
Mohammed quickly realized he was shot by a pellet gun in the face and neck.
And it all while he was gripping his own weapon.
"I was holding on to my .45 the whole time, and the whole time something was stopping me from pulling it out," Mohammed said.
After the shooting, investigators say Quinnell called his mother and asked if she had watched the news, because he had shot a man in the face.
Once they released the shocking surveillance video, tips started pouring in, including from the suspect's mother who said her son was prejudiced and was suffering from depression.
After his arrest, Detective Lisa Schoneman says Quinnell provided a motive.
"He said he was lonely and was nearly struck by a car when he spotted Mohammed and his girlfriend. He thought the individual was of Middle Eastern descent, and was with a quote, end quote ‘white girl.' This made him very angry and he snapped, " Schoneman said.
"There were a lot of racial remarks made by him," she added. "He definitely has a different way of thinking."
Despite being a victim of a hate crime, there is no hate in Mohammed's heart, just hope for the man that shot him.
"Maybe he can change his whole way of thinking around," Mohammed said.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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