ATLANTA - It is a rapidly growing game being played around the metro Atlanta area, according to police, and it is causing some serious damage, not to mention putting lives in danger. Police said paintballing has gotten so bad, they have started locking people up for it.
Monday night, Bryant Morton said he heard a lot of commotion, like gunshots, but they didn't sound like real gunshots. What he heard were rounds from paintball guns. People were firing at each other in the middle of the night outside his northwest Atlanta home. Morton said he came around the side of the house and was hit.
The skirmish also left its mark on his home. Morton said it may be fun and games to those that are playing, but he is not laughing having to now clean up the mess left behind.
"They're shooting back and forth at each other, but they're not just hitting each other, they're hitting property that's around them," said Sgt. John Chafee, Atlanta Police Department spokesperson.
Police aren't happy about the increase in paintball activity around town either. Officers drove into the middle of a paintball war Monday night on Washington Place. There were paint on poles, homes, fences, buildings. There was even a spent air cartridge in the street.
Officers arrested four people and recovered nine paintball guns, 7,500 paintball rounds, and impounded three vehicles.
Police said there's a lot of chatter about it on social media and some of it may be attributed to a few Atlanta rappers who started pushing the idea of paintball wars between hoods. But police said wherever the idea came from, it's no joke and it could be deadly.
"If our officers encounter somebody that appears to be a gun, and they believe in that split second, you know they want to go home alive, and if they believe it's a gun, that certainly could turn bad," said Sgt. Chaffee.