Los Angeles police said Thursday there has been a recent increase in the use of paintball guns in crimes targeting people who are walking or riding bikes, and they warned that such weapons can cause serious injuries and lead to felony charges.
"These assaults are no joke," LAPD Lt. Jeff Bratcher said. "They're serious crimes. At best, the victim is left with clothing soaked with paint. At worst, they suffer emotional trauma, welts and even lacerations."
Police said there have been more than two dozen paintball-related attacks this year, with the victims ranging in age from 12 to 80. Victims are often left with painful, visible welts, but police said some victims can suffer permanent injuries depending on where the projectile hits them -- and how hard.
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They also noted that some offenders have been recording the attacks and posting video on social media.
Police said using paintball guns or other weapons that fire projectiles can lead to serious charges and cause serious injuries.
"Parents, friends, neighbors, if you know anyone that has possession of these -- BB gun, a pellet gun, a paintball gun -- could you just inform them of the danger which can occur if used irresponsibly."
Police wants to remind that these crimes are considered assault with a deadly weapon. A person who shots at another with a paintball gun can face up to four years in prison.