CHICAGO (CBS) — The University of Chicago issued a campus alert late Monday after a spate of paintball attacks near campus.
U of C Associate Vice President for Safety & Security Eric M. Heath and Dean of Students Michele Rasmussen said university police have received eight reports of people in vehicles shooting paintballs at pedestrians.
The attacks appear to be part of a pattern of similar paintball incidents around the city and suburbs in recent weeks, the alert said. The incidents have not usually caused serious injuries, but “they pose a community hazard and we take them seriously,” the alert said.
“Several of the incidents reported to the University have occurred on campus while most have occurred off campus. The incidents have occurred in both daylight and evening hours and have impacted members of the University community as well as people with no University affiliation,” the alert said. “Victims have described several vehicles involved in the incidents, including a silver or white sedan, a red or maroon Mercedes, and a dark or black sedan.”
The University of Chicago Police incident log turned up five in Hyde Park and Woodlawn near the U of C campus in just the past few days.
• At noon Friday, a person walking with others at 55th Street and Lake Park Avenue was hit in the hand by a paintball fired by someone in a dark-colored sedan.
• At 12:45 p.m. Saturday, a jogger was struck on the leg by a paintball fired from a passing vehicle near the U of C’s Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts at 915 E. 60th St.
• At 1 p.m. Saturday, two people walking in the 1300 block of East 63rd Street were struck with paintballs fired by someone in a red Mercedes.
• At 11:50 p.m. Saturday, a person walking in the 5500 block of South Kimbark Avenue was struck in the leg with a paintball fired from a black sport-utility vehicle.
• At 12:35 a.m. Sunday, two people were walking along University Avenue between 52nd and 53rd streets when they were hit with paintballs by someone who then ran into a waiting black sedan.
University police said in the incident reports that the cases were referred to Chicago Police, and indicated that the victims declined medical attention in most of the cases.
University police detectives are reviewing records to identify the vehicles involved, and university police are also conducting directed patrols in response to the paintball attacks, the campus alert said.
The U of C campus is open, but students are under tight restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Paintball attacks have been reported in several other areas in recent weeks. CBS 2’s Steven Graves reported late last month that two teenage boys said they were hit by paintballs in Oak Park when a car pulled up next to them as they rode bikes in an alley near North Avenue.
Around the same time, several homes in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood were also hit with paintballs and stained with orange paint.
Earlier in September, a man suffered an eye injury after being hit with a paintball in the 700 block of South Michigan Avenue downtown.
A spate of paintball attacks also struck Chicago around this time last year, largely in the downtown area.