Random paintball attacks have some on alert in Tucson

Published: May. 19, 2016 at 6:51 PM MST|Updated: May. 20, 2016 at 1:33 AM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A group of friends were walking along East Broadway Boulevard when someone shot at them Wednesday night, May 18.

They were near the corner of Park Avenue when something shot past the four friends and hit the fence next to them, according to Devon Salter.

He said the group was on its way downtown when they heard a shot and the fence shook. Salter said it was terrifying.

"I had no idea, like, what it was," he said. "If that were to have been a gun, like, that would've been it for us."

It happened just before 8:40 p.m. At the scene, a pink splotch of paint was left on the fence.

Salter said he saw someone pulling what looked like a barrel of a paintball gun into a silver/gray sedan. He said the car turned north onto Euclid Avenue.

Soon after the incident near Broadway and Park, a similar pink stain hit a Tucson News Now vehicle near Tucson High School on North 2nd Avenue and East 6th Street.

Nobody was hurt in either scenario, but that wasn't the case for one woman in Tucson earlier in the week.

She asked not to be identified, but the woman said she was hit by a paintball Monday night, May 16. She still has a bruise on her ankle, but she assumed the worst when it happened.

"I was just afraid I was going to be bleeding everywhere because I don't know what it feels like to get shot," she said,

Now she's encouraging anyone else who's experienced a similar situation to file a report with the Tucson Police Department. She's worried someone could be seriously hurt if it keeps happening.

"They could end up hitting someone in the eye, or a young child, or an elderly person," she said. "I don't think they realize the consequences that could happen."

Ryan Lovato, CEO of Disruptive Products, owns a paintball store and playing field. The former pro player said anyone with experience in the sport would know better than to randomly shoot people in the street.

"These are not paintballers," he said. "The sport itself is actually very safe, safer than golf."

Lovato said in the nearly 30 years he's been involved in paintball, he's seen several people lose an eye. But each case was outside of a playing field without the proper safety equipment. He said he hopes people don't connect the recent shootings with the sport.

TPD Sgt. Pete Dugan said the department is aware of the paintball incidents. He said the department will need more reports from the public in order to generate some leads to solve the case.

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