Police warn paintball vandals of consequences
Since April 1, the South Linden neighborhood has been dealing with havoc wreaked by a different type of weapon — paintball guns.
Columbus police have fielded 16 reports of vandalism caused by paintball guns this month. Most of the incidents have occurred in the South Linden neighborhoods from 5th Avenue north to Hudson Street off of Cleveland Avenue.
In one case, a person was struck in the face by a paintball shell.
Columbus Police Sgt. Dana Hess, who works on secondshift patrol for the Linden area, said police are asking those using paintball guns to stop now before someone gets hurt.
That could include the paintball vandals. Hess noted that paintball guns resemble real firearms. South Linden’s neighborhoods are among the busiest precincts for real gun violence in the city.
“As police officers, we’re going to respond to these types of incidents as if it’s a real gun because we don’t know if it’s a paintball gun,” Hess said.
No arrests have been made so far. A person who displays a paintball gun in a school zone could face a felony charge, Hess said. Most of the incidents, however, would be considered misdemeanor criminal damaging.
One resident, who did not want to be identified, supplied Columbus police with a cellphone video of a young man getting out of his car and unloading a number of paintball capsules at a car behind his near Hamilton Avenue and Clinton Street.
There have been reports of people in cars racing up and down the street and firing paintball guns, Hess said.
Hess said there is a possibility that the same group of people is involved in the paintball assaults and that it could be a version of senior tag.
“There’s a time and place for these things to be used, and the public is not the place,” Hess said.