CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A mother said she is moving out of her west Charlotte home after her 2-year-old daughter was pelted nine times last week with paintballs while standing outside.
The woman said her daughter was in the front yard while she was unloading groceries when a group of guys was shooting paintball guns at each other. She said when she went inside to drop off some items she heard her the girl crying for help.
The 2-year-old had marks all over her body after someone fired off paintballs at her.
Paintball wars have been gaining national traction since the beginning of the year and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said it has received more than 150 calls since Jan. 1 involving paintball gun complaints.
The mother, who did not want to be identified, said it was a traumatizing moment for her and her daughter.
"She was screaming so bad," the mother said. "She said, 'Mommy help me, mommy help me.' That killed me. When I saw her with paint all over her shirt and her pants, my heart dropped. I never thought this would happen to my baby."
The mother said she found welts on her daughter’s chest, back, knees and legs. She told Channel 9 that a group of men was shooting each other on her property earlier last week.
“I heard one of them say that's their way to, instead of attacking themselves with guns, they're going to do it like that because that's how they get the anger out of them,” the mother said.
The woman said she's not against people using paintball guns to hash things out, but it shouldn’t jeopardize anyone else's safety.
She filed a police report, and days later, she said her car was hit twice with paintballs.
CMPD investigated the incident and arrested 17-year-old Keon Jaquez Broughton, who is facing charges for causing a disturbance, assaulting a child and resisting an officer.
The number of complaints CMPD has received involving paintball guns is growing. Meanwhile, local paintball stores are seeing a rise in sales.
David Veldof, who owns a paintball gun store, believes some people are having a good time at the wrong places. He's educating customers on smarter options, including regulated fields.
"Over the past 3 to 4 weeks, we've had a substantial increase in sales,” Veldof said. "And believe it or not, a lot of people have been going to these fields and staying off these streets."
The mother of the 2-year-old who was hit by the paintballs said her daughter has been seeing a counselor to get over her fear of being outside.
She hopes a city ordinance is created to help curb paintball incidents.
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