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Multiple people shot by paintballs near downtown

Posted at 9:02 PM, May 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-20 01:53:16-04

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Multiple people have reported being shot by paintballs, apparently at random, near downtown Tucson.

Victims have gone to social media to report the incidents. At least six people have posted to their Twitter accounts about being shot within the past week. Tucson Police know about the incidents, but have not received that many reports.

"All of the sudden there was a pop and I didn't know I got hit at the time," said a woman named Rachael. 

Rachael showed KGUN9 a photo of the welt left on her ankle after being hit. It is still there after being hit on Monday night around 9:30 p.m. near 6th Street and 6th Avenue. 

"I was afraid to look down because I didn't know what I got hit by," said Rachael.

"What did you think it was?" asked reporter Keaton Thomas.

"I thought it was an actual bullet," she said.

Rachel is one of a handful of people who have mentioned being shot at. Another woman named Mildred tweeted this after being shot on Saturday night: "Careful if you're walking on 4th ave tonight, people are driving around shooting people with paintballs. Both me and my mom got hit."

Mildred says she was hit at about 9:30 p.m. on Saturday and her mother was hit about five minutes later just down the street. Others posted to Twitter accounts about incidents on Sunday night, Tuesday night, and Wednesday night.

The victims reported seeing a dark colored, possibly black, vehicle drive off after being shot.

To our knowledge, no one has been seriously hurt yet, but this type of behavior could lead to something worse.

"Paintball is moving about 214 miles per hour," said Ryan Lovato, owner of Disruptive Paintball and a former professional paintballer.

Lovato says paintball is fun and safe as a sport. People who got paintballing will normally dress up in layers of clothes with helmets, goggles, and other pads. Lovato says this type of behavior is dangerous.

"Somebody out there shooting paintballs at people it's definitely not safe. It is why they have so much protective equipment," he said.

None of the victims had protective hear. People have been known to lose an eye if they were hit without goggles. Paintballs can also do serious harm to young children or the elderly if they are not prepared.

The Tucson Police Department is aware of these shootings, but have not received police reports from everyone. Sgt. Pete Dugan says anyone who was shot at should file a report, because even if they remember the smallest detail it could help police with the case.