The St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Bureau has arrested several juveniles in an ongoing investigation involving more than a dozen incidents where paintball guns were used illegally in the parish, Sheriff James Pohlmann said.
Beginning in early March to date, the Sheriff said, deputies have responded to 14 calls for service involving groups of teens using paintball guns to shoot at each other, as well as at citizens, vehicles, residences, and traffic signs.
“The use of paintball guns by juveniles has become an alarming trend,” the Sheriff said. “When not used in a controlled environment, these guns can cause serious bodily injury or significant property damage. They can fire with enough pressure to cause death in some cases so they need to be treated as any other handgun, pellet, or BB gun.”
Individuals can face various felony charges if caught illegally discharging a paintball gun at an individual or property, including aggravated battery and aggravated criminal damage to property, as well as a misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief.
The Sheriff advises parents to think twice about purchasing these items for their children. While paintball guns are technically toys, parents should speak to their teens about using them responsibly and adhering to strict safety guidelines.
“There are several businesses that can accommodate individuals wanting to shoot paintball in a controlled, safe environment,” the Sheriff said. “Shooting paintball guns in residential neighborhoods in a manner that puts our residents at risk is not OK.”
Anyone witnessing individuals irresponsibly shooting paintball guns in St. Bernard Parish is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at (504) 271-2501, or the Criminal Investigations Bureau tip hotline at (504) 271-TIPS or 8477.