Paintball gun shootings on the rise in Los Angeles, LAPD says

The Los Angeles Police Department raised concern about the number of paintball shootings that have occurred this year, mostly in South Los Angeles, leading to injuries.

The department reported 80 paintball shootings this year, with 75 of those in South Los Angeles.

The LAPD wants to get the message out... if you shoot at people with paint guns you could be arrested for assault with a deadly weapon.

Police say the shooters are often recording themselves and sharing the attacks on social media.

At first 18-year-old Ashtann Lewis didn’t know what hit her, but it turned out she was blasted by paintballs that have now left marks on her body.

“First thing I did was cover up my head I ended up with three holes down the side of my leg and one in the back,” she told FOX 11’s Phil Shuman.

Apparently cruising down the streets and firing paintballs at unsuspecting people is now a thing. But why? 

“I hate to blame things on COVID but let’s just be honest. People have been cooped up in their homes for a long time without an outlet for entertainment or to get energy out and this is something people decided to do,” said LAPD Capt. Scott Williams. 

 What’s even more frightening is the danger of an officer mistaking a paintball gun for a real weapon. 

‘’When those calls are generated most of the time they are generated as a person with a gun,” Williams said.

“if you want to use a paintball gun then use it in a controlled paintball environment. The biggest problem we have is innocent people are being hit by these,” stated Lt. Clint Dohmen.

Innocent people like Ashtann Lewis and her friend Dionika Lewis wanted to share their pain and their fear.

“We could have gotten seriously hurt. Somebody could’ve needed ambulance at the moment. This isn’t right, I don’t know why people think this is safe, it’s not, it’s terrible,” Dionika said. 

Since police have been cracking down on this they’ve arrested eight people so far. They say they range in ages from 14-years-old to mid-20’s.