CHICAGO — A disturbing trend is on the rise across Chicago; paintball attacks have sent nearly a dozen people to the hospital.
Last month, two men were shot with paintballs while walking along Michigan Avenue, across from Grant Park. Police said someone fired from a white sedan then drove off.
Then on Oct. 1, a 58-year-old woman was at the bus stop on 69th and Halsted in Englewood when she was hit with paintballs.
A University of Chicago doctor said she treated several paintball victims over the weekend.
“Over the last 48 hours, there have been at least seven vision-threatening injuries to the eye and quite a few of them required urgent surgery,” Dr. Ema Avdagic said.
Dr. Avdagic was the ophthalmologist on call the last three days. She said she’s never seen so many paintball attacks in such a short period of time.
“It started approximately in the afternoon on Saturday and the cases really went up until Monday morning and we’re still counting,” she said.
A paintball gun can shoot paintballs at a speed of 300 feet per second. Getting hit without any protective gear is very serious, Avdagic said.
While the cases over the weekend vary, there were several that required surgery.
“The traumas range from superficial scratches on the surface of the eye to bleeding inside the eye,” Avdagic said. “To something called a globed rupture, which is similar to what it sounds, the actual eye ruptures.”
Police warn that paintball guns can look like real guns and using them to shoot someone in the street is a felony.