SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - An Indian Orchard man says he no longer feels safe in his neighborhood after being shot with a paintball gun at random.
He says he and his friends were struck while walking at night, and Springfield Police confirm more paintball shootings in other parts of the city.
Kevin Grady says he didn't know what he was being shot with on Tuesday night.
He says he felt the blast of impact and, in a flash, the shooters were gone.
He and his friend, Jay, don't believe it was a targeted attack, but a random ambush.
"At the core of it, we wanted ice cream. That’s it," says Jay Steinbock.
Kevin Grady and Jay Steinbock say their late night excursions in Indian Orchard are pretty tame.
"We had just come to the side street right here," said Grady.
They say nothing was out of the ordinary Tuesday night until a small sedan pulled up next to them on Berkshire Avenue as they were crossing Superior.
"We thought they were turning, so we started to get out of the middle of the road," stated Grady.
"It sounded like the belt of a tire. It sounded like a pop," continued Steinbock.
"I got hit a couple of times. A few of us saw the barrel sticking out of the window. Now we know it was a paintball gun, but, at the time, we didn’t know what it was," says Grady.
Springfield Police tell Western Mass News it's not uncommon for paintball guns to look like real weapons, citing a different example from Thursday night.
"One of the kids, who was shooting a paintball gun that almost looked like an M-16 rifle, was arrested," Springfield Police spokesperson Ryan Walsh tells us.
He says the four or five incidents in the last few weeks involving paintball guns have occurred all around the city.
"It could hurt someone significantly. Plus, it can scare someone. Those are dangerous weapons when they’re not utilized in the proper playing field," continued Walsh.
"One of us got hit on the bare flesh and started bleeding," said Grady.
Left with minor injuries and ruined clothes, it's bruised their confidence in the neighborhood's safety.
"I mean, I’m terrified. It could’ve been anything. I’m happy it wasn’t an actual gun," stated Steinbock.
They say the deepest wound was how quickly they were caught in the crosshairs.
"It was like 4,5 shots and then we were just like "what’s happening". We didn’t even have a chance to think about running to safety. By the time I turned back around to see where they were, they were gone," added
Springfield Police are asking anyone who sees a paintball gun being used improperly to report it.
He says even damage to a building from a paintball gun can result in a felony charge.