Local News

Wayne County Authorities Investigate Paintball Attacks

Posted April 29, 1999

— Wayne County Sheriff's deputies say six people with too much time on their hands are using a toy to vandalize buildings. What is worse, deputies say, is that they are out to hurt people.

Paintball guns are legal to own and you can buy them in most discount stores. They are used in a recreational game called Paintball.

But use the gun to shoot unsuspecting people and damage property and you are breaking the law.

"They were using paintballs and going around shooting signs and buildings and a couple of people got shot," says Det. Sgt. Denise Salo.

The Wayne County Sheriff's Office is questioning six young people about a series of recent attacks and vandalism.

They are accused of using a paint gun to shoot people at close range from their car. The paintballs which shoot from the guns leave a mess behind. Salo says the impact can also be extremely painful.

"It'll sting real good," she says. "It depends how far away you are when it hits. Sometimes you get a bruise from it."

At least four people have been shot and 14 cases of vandalism have been reported in the past two weeks.

"In the ones that are playing in the war games, they are wearing helmets and visors, so their face and eyes are protected. When you are shooting at people who don't have that kind of protection on, you can get paint in your eyes or mess up your face," says Salo.

The paintballs leave little more than a bruise and a stain, but deputies are worried that the suspects might find themselves on the wrong end of someone defending themselves with a real gun.

Military and law enforcement agencies also use the guns for some training and recreation.

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