GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Grand Rapids police say they are seeing an increase in paintball incidents around the city.
Police say that since April 28, they have received 17 reports of paintball wars or other incidents. Most of the incidents have involved people shooting homes, vehicles or other people from moving vehicles. Two people who were riding on a moped were injured in one incident. Other incidents have caused damage to homes or vehicles.
Police advise that paintball guns can look real from a distance and victims may not know they are being shot at by a paintball gun. They also say there have been four reported retail thefts involving paintball guns and paintballs.
Police say a rapper, 21 Savage, launched a campaign recently called “Guns Down, Paint Up” which was supposed to be an anti-gun violence message, but has morphed into paintball wars on streets of major cities.
The Kent County Prosecutor has told police he will charge anyone who shoots at a person who is not participating in a “paintball war” with a 93-day misdemeanor. Possessing a paintball gun is legal, but having a paintball war is best somewhere where no damage can be done and non-participants can’t be injured.