A series of random and bizarre paintball attacks have put residents and police on edge in Chicago’s southwest suburbs.
Two people in Joliet were hit multiple times by a paintball gun on separate occasions, according to the Joliet Police Department, and now investigators are trying to figure out who is behind the shootings.
The injuries involved are minor but victims say the unexpected attacks were very painful. Police believe the incidents are related because in both instances the paintballs were filled with orange paint.
Joe Kezerla told NBC Chicago he was edging his lawn Monday night on 1100 block of North Raynor when out of nowhere someone opened fire. Kezerla says he was struck by two paintballs; one of which was hard enough to draw blood.
“The first shot was in the arm,” Kezerla said. “The second was in the shoulder. It happened so fast that I couldn't identify the car, I couldn't see anything else.”
Kezerla says he has been in his home since 1988, and this is the first time something like this has happened.
It is a surprising attack in the usually peaceful Joliet neighborhood, but police say it was not an isolated incident. Later that same night, another man reported being shot in the leg with a paintball in the 600 block of Ruby Street.
Eddie Pantoja lives just down the street from Kezerla. He says he can't understand why anyone would have a reason to shoot at his neighbor with a paintball gun.
“It’s kind of stupid and childish,” Pantoja said. “You’re just going to drive by and shoot someone with a paintball gun? What's the point of that – trying to be funny? It’s just stupid.”
Kerzela says he is so unnerved by the incident he is thinking of applying for a concealed carry permit.
“With Illinois and their concealed carry it was suggested to me that I might want to go do that,” Kerzela said. “And when you’re out in your own yard and you can no longer feel safe you should be able to protect yourself … It sucks. I have to have someone here watching my back while I am out cutting my own lawn. And that’s a shame.”
So far Joliet police have little to go on, but are hoping the car used in the shooting was picked up on surveillance video.