Cyclists and pedestrians attacked with a paintball gun, victim struck in face

Cyclists and pedestrians attacked with a paintball gun, victim struck in face

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Unsuspecting bike riders and a pedestrian got pelted with paint balls this weekend, and one of the victims was hit in the face, according to New Orleans police.

"Obviously your first thought riding the streets of New Orleans, unfortunately when someone does something like that, is maybe they just shot me," Andrew Grafe said.

Grafe said after attending Jazz Fest on Friday, he and his wife rode their bikes home down Esplanade Avenue, and while in the Seventh Ward around 11 p.m., someone riding in a car beside him shot him and his wife with a paintball gun.

"It knocked her off her bike and she kind of fell into the car that was in the parking lane," Grafe said. "She got hit twice, and they hit me four times."

The shooter never stopped or demanded anything from the couple. Grafe believes the attackers were a group of teenagers.

"Just out of meanness I think. Just kids testing the boundaries maybe, or maybe thinking life is a video game," Grafe said.

Police say officers responded to another paintball attack at the corner of St. Louis and N. Claiborne around 11:20 p.m., where someone waiting for the bus was targeted, as well. The victim told police he saw a gold, two-door sedan pull up. He told police the front passenger rolled the window down and struck the victim in the face with paintballs.

"Out of nowhere being caught off guard with folks assaulting them within pretty close range with paintball guns," Bike Easy owner Dan Favre said.

Favre said several cyclists were also pelted on Saturday.

"It's a bummer to think that people lack empathy for others so much that this is their idea of a good time," Favre said.

"If you go back two and a half years ago, there was two viscous attacks within a week of each other on Esplanade in the Treme neighborhood where two cyclists, middle of the night, were hit with baseball bats brutally," cyclist Bob Rodrigue said.

During French Quarter Fest, a child threw a brick at Rodrigue in Treme, leaving this huge bruise on his leg.

"It would be sad to see someone pull a gun on a 12-year-old kid with a paintball gun. In theory, that's where this could eventually go, and that's not good either," Rodrigue said.

"I'm hoping that next time it's not these same kids with a live gun and I'm also hoping that maybe the cops catch them and find out why it is that they're not having anybody in their life telling them that this is wrong," Grafe said.

Police have not identified any suspects at this time.

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