Authorities on Thursday said they have noticed an alarming spike in paintball shootings this year in Los Angeles, with some leading to injuries and the attacks often shared to social media.
The Los Angeles Police Department announced that 80 paintball shootings have occurred in the city this year, with 75 of the attacks taking place in South Los Angeles. Police said the attacks can lead to "serious soft tissue damage" often look like real assault rifles.
‘’When those calls are generated most of the time they are generated as a person with a gun,” said LAPD Capt. Scot Williams, according to Fox 11 Los Angeles.
He believed the shootings were a way for people to "get energy out" because many have been cooped up during the coronavirus pandemic.
Ashtann Lewis, 18, was hit with paintballs last week, reports said.
“First thing I did was cover up my head. I ended up with three holes down the side of my leg and one in the back,” she told the station.
Police said shooters often record themselves and share the attacks on social media.
“If you want to use a paintball gun then use it in a controlled paintball environment," said LAPD Lt. Clint Dohmen.
According to Fox 11, police arrested eight people so far since they started cracking down on the assaults.
"Using a paintball gun to shoot is a felony," police added.