A paintball gun war led to a cease-fire call from authorities in Connecticut, who fear that teenagers who are playing around, might get hurt or be killed.
Friday, the New Haven Police Department held a press conference explaining that there have been numerous 911 calls made about young people walking around with assault-style weapons.
When police arrive to arrest or question those teens, they discover that the weapons are paintball guns. Standing in front of a dozen of reporters, Assistant Chief Archie Generoso stated that while no one has been killed in this paintball gun war, there have several people injured and therefore is calling for a cease-fire.
One paintball/BB gun caused a 10-year-old girl to be hospitalized after she was shot in the head. During the press conference, police spokesman Officer David Hartman held a paintball gun next to a Colt AR patrol rifle used by New Haven police and pointed to the fact that they were almost identical.
They were the same size, color, and design. The small difference between a real gun and paintball gun is a rubber tube that connects to a canister located at the rear of the weapon. However, it is almost impossible to spot the difference from a distance.
Hartman explained that it is difficult for police officers or residents to distinguish the real from the fake. He said:
“I want you to tell me if you can tell the difference between these two weapons and I want you to tell me … if you were a police officer or you were the clerk at a store who has one of these pointed in your face while you’re being robbed, if you could tell the difference.”
“The warning is this; Dangerous situations with potentially tragic outcomes exist when responding police officers can’t quickly determine if the gun displayed is real or not.”
Hartman also shared the story of a panicked woman, who called 911 after she spotted a gunfight between groups using what she said were assault weapons or AK-47s. When police confiscated the guns, they found out that they were paintball guns. He said things like that have to stop before a tragedy occurs.
Hartman got very emotional as he pleaded with residents and parents to please call 911 and report any weapons. He also begged parents to monitor their children and make sure they do not partake in this dangerous game. He said:
“Even you have to call the police to report it’s your own son that’s involved in this activity, better do that than have to call us to tell us your son is now laying dead in your yard because he pointed this at the wrong person.”
Fighting back the tears, Hartman added:
“Just thinking about what could be the outcome of police officers arriving at the scene of what is being reported as a gun battle and ending up with teenagers and children shot dead because what they were involved in what they thought is some type of game.”
Recently, officers were called after a teen was seen with a weapon and they drew their guns and aimed at him. When the police and a group of people who witnessed the incident discovered it was a paintball gun, a scuffle took place. The crowd almost attacked the officers. Hartman said:
“Any officer who wouldn’t draw their weapon (in such a situation) and point it at someone regardless wether they are a teenager or an adult is a fool. We’re also not going to tolerate people attacking police officers after it’s found out that the weapon was a facsimile weapon.”
Experts say that the entire community needs to help solve this matter.