CHESTER, Va. (WWBT) - Chesterfield Police are investigating after a man was shot in the face with a paintball.
The incident occurred around 2:30 a.m. Friday in the 4000 block of West Hundred Road in Chester.
Police said a man, with a woman in the passenger seat, was driving east on West Hundred Road in his truck with the windows down.
As the truck pulled up the intersection with Chester Road the man heard something hitting the side of the truck.
When he turned to look out the window, he was hit in the face and shoulder with paintballs. He turned his back to shield the woman when he was then struck in the back with a paintball.
“If you’ve ever played paintball and been hit by one of those paintball pellets they do hurt,” NBC12 firearms safety expert Jim Reynolds said. “Even from across the distance.”
However, police believe this encounter happened in close proximity.
"It could have taken out an eye, caused some sort of injury like that, teeth, anything like that to the face area,” Reynolds said. “Not to mention just losing control of the car."
Chesterfield Police Lt. Brad Conner said the man had several scrapes, bruises and cuts which were treated after he drove himself to an area hospital. While the man is recovering, Reynolds said paintball equipment should not be messed around with.
“The muzzle velocity right here where the paintball would come out of the gun is about 300 feet per second,” he said. “That’s pretty fast. So, if you’re talking about distance from car-to-car at a traffic light, 3 to 5 feet maybe, that would hurt incredibly.”
Police said the four people in a 1977-1984 style Chevrolet Suburban were wearing paintball gear and masks. The Suburban also has a black tint cap over its license plate.
While the suspects’ whereabouts are unknown, they now face possible charges of felonious assault.
"It's a felony to throw any object at a moving vehicle,” Conner said. “Whether it's a weapon, a cup or a piece of fruit, it's all considered under the code section."
NBC12 reached out to XZone Sports in Chesterfield for an interview about this assault. While the executive director respectfully declined, he said in part they are, "strongly opposed to any use of paintball equipment that is not within the bounds of normal paintball play.”
"Something as simple as what people would think of as a toy could easily cause another person to lose their life," Reynolds said.
This isn’t the first time someone has been injured from a paintball gun fired outside its intended use.
There have also been several reports of incidents happening near VCU and The Fan
Chesterfield Police will be increasing patrols in the area where this assault happened, according to Conner.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Chesterfield County Police Department at 804-748-1251 or Crime Solvers at 804-748-0660 or through the P3 app.
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