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LAPD Says Paintball Attacks Are On The Rise In South L.A.

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By Alex Martinez

Paintball attacks in South Los Angeles have nearly tripled over the past year, authorities say. Police worry that use of the recreational sport guns is becoming a growing criminal trend in Los Angeles neighborhoods.

This year, there have been 68 paintball victims in South Los Angeles, compared with 24 at this time last year, the Los Angeles Police Department’s South Bureau said at a news conference on Friday.

Police said paintballs can cause serious harm.

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Paintball is an indoor and outdoor sport in which people, wearing protective vests and helmets, can compete individually or as a team. People use paintball guns, which are compressed air guns that resemble real assault weapons, to shoot dye-filled pellets at opponents. The average paintball can travel up to 300 feet per second.

Nine-year-old Aron Marrujo is a recent victim of a paintball attack. He was playing in the front yard of a friend’s house when paintballs began shooting from a car passing by, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Marrujo's cousins tried to shield him, but he was struck above his right eye. He wound up getting nine stitches, the Times reported.

“Aron was just inches away from at least losing his eye or even possible brain damage,” said Detective Arnold Castellanos at the news conference.

Four people were arrested following the incident and charged with assault with a deadly weapon, three of whom were juveniles, KTLA News reported.

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LAPD Captain Lee Sands said paintball guns have been used in robberies, aggravated assaults, and vandalism. “There’s an array of crimes that these individuals have used paintball guns to commit,” Sands said.