Incidents involving paintball guns have been on the rise in the Charlotte, North Carolina area.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said they’ve already received 150 calls involving the toy weapons this year, according to WSBTV.
But one local mother, whose identity is being withheld, never thought that her family would be at risk— until her 2-year-old daughter was shot repeatedly with a paintball gun on April 16 as she patiently waited for her mom to finish unloading groceries from the car.
The mother said her daughter was trying to help unload groceries when she suddenly started crying. She looked down to see her daughter cover in multicolored paint.
The mother told WSBTV:
“She was screaming so bad. 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.”
A large group of teens shooting paintballs had moved off the street and into her yard.
She grabbed her child and scolded them before running inside. The teens had also shot paintballs all over the mother’s car.
In total, the mother said her 2-year-old was hit with around nine paintballs and was covered in welts, according to the Charlotte Observer.
The horrified mother filed a police report about the incident and one teen, 17-year-old Keon Broughton, was taken into custody.Mecklenburg County jail
He was charged with assault on a child under age 12, resisting an officer, and disorderly conduct and was freed on $1,500, WSOC reports.
The mother claims a teen, not directly identified as Broughton, returned to her home after he said that he was freed from jail and approached her 5-year-old daughter. He told the little girl:
“He said, ‘Tell your mom I’m out, what she’s going to do now.'”
According to Dr. Joshua Luck of the North Middlesex University Hospital, paintballs most commonly result in eye injuries but can also cause “superficial vascular as well as deep solid organ injuries.”
That means the 2-year-old could have faced a lot worse than just welts.
The mother said she once again found her car covered in paintballs after the incident, and now plans to move because she doesn’t feel the area is safe for her kids.