Paintball attack leaves woman with serious eye injury; Series of similar incidents reported downtown

Approximate locations of Tuesday’s incidents. | Multiplottr

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A 25-year-old woman is recovering from a severe eye injury after someone shot her with a paintball gun on the Northwest Side overnight. The incident unfolded less than an hour after police handled a series of paintball gun “shootings” and perceived “shots fired” reports in the downtown area.

The woman told police that someone fired a paintball and struck her in the eye as she walked home from XSport Fitness, 4677 North Elston, around 4:10 a.m. She returned to the gym after being shot to call for police and EMS.

Police said the woman believes she was walking on the 4600 block of North Lowell when she was hit, but she never saw the person who fired the paintball. An ambulance crew transported her to Swedish  Covenant Hospital.

Less than one hour earlier, police responded to several calls from people who had similar stories downtown and on Lake Shore Drive.

At 3:21 a.m., a motorist reported that someone in a white Chevy truck with Florida plates pointed a gun at him as they traveled northbound on the 2300 block of North Lake Shore Drive.

Six minutes later, a security guard reported that someone shot him with a paintball as they passed in a white SUV on the 300 block of East Ohio in Streeterville.

Around the same time, a third man told police that a group of men in a white SUV with Florida plates fired shots at him near Halsted and Division streets. The man said the vehicle continued speeding westbound on Division.

Officers in the 14th District reported seeing the SUV turn onto the outbound Kennedy Expressway at Division Street moments later. The officers said a black car may have followed the white vehicle.

Three or four white men were inside the SUV, according to at least two of the victims.

Tuesday morning’s incidents took place in the same general area where two separate motorists on Monday reported having windows shot out while driving:

  • A 21-year-old man told police that his window was shot out as he drove northbound on the 1700 block of North Lake Shore Drive around 12:23 a.m. The victim reported the shooting about an hour after Chicago police pursued a group of teenagers who were firing paintball guns near the Chicago Theater. Witnesses said the teens were male and female Hispanic teenagers wearing Halloween masks.
  • Around 4:40 a.m., another man told police that the rear window of his vehicle shattered after he heard a single gunshot while driving on Ontario Street in Streeterville.

Police have not publicly connected any of the incidents.

Paintball guns are capable of firing more than just paintballs. Videos available online show paintball guns can fire .68-caliber rubber bullets designed for police and military riot control.

Los Angeles police this summer warned residents about a series of “dangerous” paintball attacks in their city.

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