A pretrial hearing has been set for April 9 for a Land O' Lakes man accused of committing a hate crime in January in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart in Lutz.
Daniel Paul Quinnell, of 2239 Tioga Drive, was not present for a brief hearing Tuesday morning before Judge Mary M. Handsel at the West Pasco Judicial Center. Quinnell has dropped his public defender and hired a private attorney, Frank Fernandez, of Tampa.
Quinnell, who is in Land O' Lakes Jail with bail set at $20,000, is charged with aggravated battery in a pellet gun shooting Jan. 2 in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart at 1575 Land O' Lakes Blvd.
About 3 a.m. Jan. 2, Quinnell approached a man and woman as they were about to enter the store and asked whether the man was from the Middle East and whether he was Muslim. Once the man, identified as Cameron Christopher Mohammed, said no to both questions, Quinnell pulled a pellet gun from his jacket, made a racial slur about the man being with a white woman, and fired about 20 shots into his face and neck, according to the Pasco County deputies.
Mohammed, who is not Muslim and was born in the United States to a couple from Trinidad, had a pellet in his head and another in his neck surgically removed.
Quinnell was arrested, with the help of his parents, at the Comfort Inn at State Road 54 and Interstate 75 in Land O' Lakes two days after the attack.