LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) – Police in Los Angeles are becoming increasingly concerned about paintball gun shootings in the city, especially in the area of South L.A.
The LAPD says there have been more than 100 paintball gun shootings across the city so far this year, with over half of them happening in South L.A.
Authorities believe this trend is due, in part, to the proliferation of online videos in which people “prank” unsuspecting victims by shooting them with the non-lethal weapon. The guns often resemble real firearms and have been used in robberies and vandalism, however. Police also fear someone carrying a more realistic-looking gun will be a victim of a shooting, themselves.
Despite their non-lethal nature, paintball guns can be extremely dangerous, and police consider these “pranks” crimes.
Nine-year-old Aaron Marrujo almost lost his right eye when a car with teens inside slowed down and approached him in his South L.A. neighborhood. Someone shot him with a paintball gun, causing a wound on his temple for which needed nine stitches.
Aaron’s mother says he is now afraid to play outside.
Four teenagers involved in Aaron’s shooting have been charged with assault with a deadly weapon.
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