By Marissa Parra

CHICAGO (CBS) — It happened in the blink of an eye.

As CBS 2’s Marissa Parra reported, diners dove for cover when they were targeted by someone with a paintball gun in Wicker Park this week. The victims thought they were being shot with a real gun. In the heat of the moment it’s hard to tell the difference.

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A young woman walking her dog on the street is pelted with paintballs. It was just one of three paintball attacks in the neighborhood.

“I could tell they were younger just by the fact that they were laughing,” said Tayor Mogged. “I could hear them when they were driving away they were laughing.”

Laughing, as they shot her with a paintball gun, striking her in the back once. The other five shells missed, just narrowly missing her face.

“I was walking my seventh-month-old mini dachshund. If they would have shot her, she probably would be severely injured,” Mogged said.

Moggerd couldn’t see faces, but she could see a dark colored SUV.

“A dark colored crossover with a dude hanging out the window with a gun.”

Brett Robinson was just minutes away dining outside.

“All you hear is psh-psh-psh-psh. That’s when everybody started screaming,” Robinson said. “We saw glass flying and people diving and ducking.”

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He said it happened so fast, no one knew in the moment whether or not it was a real gun.

“I felt something hit me in the shoulder, something hit me in the foot. One woman got hit in the mouth. One of the ladies, who we think was pregnant, she got hit in the back,” Robinson said.

None of the victims needed to be taken to the hospital, but all of them are left wondering who did this and why.

“Someone’s out there trying to instill fear and that’s the disappointing part about living in Chicago now,” Robinson lamented.

A third attack happened just blocks away. Police won’t say if they think all three are related. Earlier this summer, several people were hit with paintballs in Mount Greenwood.

Last fall, Chris Trani had a scar on his face as he talked with CBS 2’s Jermont Terry. The injuries were left behind after a group of guys in a white sport-utility vehicle sprayed him with paintballs while he was riding a bicycle off Sheffield Avenue in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.

“Someone yelling, ‘Hey man!’” Trani said. “And I look over and right then, they started shooting me in the face.”

Similar attacks were reported last fall from the Loop and Streeterville to West Town and Oak Park, and also on the University of Chicago campus. In Chatham last fall, a Chicago Transit Authority bus driver was injured in a paintball attack.

Right before Halloween in October 2019, Chicago also saw a similar uptick of random attacks.

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One man’s dashcam captured the sounds, and an image of someone hanging out the back window with a long paint gun – also from a white SUV – at Ontario Street and McClurg Court in Streeterville just about exactly a year ago.