CTA Bus Driver Shot With Paintball Gun in Chatham

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A 44-year-old CTA bus driver was hurt in a paintball gun attack Monday in Chatham on the South Side.

About 9:43 p.m., someone fired pellets at the man as two passengers were getting off the bus in the 8000 block of South Cottage Grove Avenue, Chicago police said.

The driver was taken to Jackson Park Hospital in good condition, police said. No arrests have been reported.

The attack is the latest in a series of paintball shootings reported recently across Chicago.

On Oct. 20, a 34-year-old man was riding his bike at around 10 p.m. in the 1800 block of West Hubbard Street in the city's West Town neighborhood when someone in a white sedan fired a paintball gun at him, striking him in the right arm and groin area, officials said. He refused treatment at the scene.

At around the same time, a man walking his down near the intersection of West Monroe Street and South Morgan Street in the city's Near West Side neighborhood was hit, again by someone in a white sedan, according to police.

Then at around 1:20 a.m. on Oct. 21, authorities said a 61-year-old woman was standing on the sidewalk in the 6100 block of South Ashland Avenue in West Englewood when someone in a red SUV fired a paintball gun at her, hitting her in the right hand. She refused treatment at the scene.

No one is in custody in connection with any of these incidents, according to police, who continue to investigate. Further details on the suspects were not immediately available.

The attacks came after a series of paintball attacks occurred largely on or near the University of Chicago's campus earlier this month that left at least eight people with eye injuries, officials said.

University of Chicago doctors said they have treated eight people for eye injuries as paintball attacks surge throughout the Chicago area. NBC 5’s Chris Coffey reports.

Police have not said there is a connection between the earlier incidents and the most recent attacks.

Multiple vehicles were involved in the incidents earlier this month, which occurred mostly in broad daylight, officials said.

Several of the victims were hit in the eyes by paintballs, and although it’s unclear how severe the injuries are to the individuals involved, the projectiles can cause serious damage, exploding from the barrel of a paintball gun at 300 feet per second.

“It’s not an injury where you’ll be blurry for a little while and then recover,” Dr. Hassan Shah, a local eye surgeon, said. “These are severely devastating to eyes, and it’s very likely that many people with this injury would not recover much vision.”

Dr. Shah says that a wide variety of eye injuries can occur, including bleeding inside of the eye and a potential rupturing of the eyeball or retina.

The attacks appear to be part of a pattern of paintball incidents reported in other parts of Chicago and its surrounding suburbs, according to university officials. Doctors at the school’s Medical Center say it’s the most attacks they’ve seen in a short amount of time.

School officials say that a silver or white sedan has been seen near some of the attack scenes, as has a red or maroon Mercedes Benz sedan. A dark-colored or black sedan has also been seen.

DePaul University sophomore Collin Pierce says he was the victim of an attack in Lincoln Park on Oct. 12, with paintballs striking him in the chest, hand and leg.

“I guess I’m glad that it’s not a real gun, because I wouldn’t be standing here right now,” he said. “It’s not right that people are going around driving and shooting at people on the street.”

Police are reviewing video footage to try to identify the vehicles involved, and are urging students and faculty to be aware of their surroundings at all times.

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