Paintball attackers open fire on group at Mandeville lakefront

Paintball attackers open fire on group at Mandeville lakefront

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Every night for the past three weeks, hundreds of people have gone to the Mandeville lakefront to play Pokémon Go. Now authorities are looking for two men in a jeep who fired paintball pellets into a group Sunday night, injuring three.

One was a student at Southeastern, out like many others to have some fun.

"I touch my neck and saw red," said Andre Accardo.

Accardo has no idea why the attackers did what they did.

"It sounded like a machine gun," he said. "I heard 10 or 12 shots. It easily could have hit me in the throat or, not wearing goggles, they could've targeted a little kid."

The victims hit the ground as the shots were fired, thinking at first they were real bullets.

"We didn't know what had happened until two minutes later," Accardo said. "We realized we had paint on our necks and bodies."

Some of that paint can still be seen on a pedestrian bridge, and Mandeville Police are taking the incident seriously.

"It's an aggravated assault," said Capt. Gerald Sticker. "The potential is there to hit someone in the eye - it's pretty serious."

Mandeville PD has put extra officers on the lakefront to deal with the crowds who gather there.

"This has exploded, and the amount of people we have on the Lakeshore Drive is impressive," Sticker said.

He said things have been mostly peaceful, but what happened Sunday night was no game.

"The Jeep we're looking for is a Renegade, dark colored, distinctive taillights with XS," Sticker said.

Accardo said despite what happened, he'll still play the game.

"I said after it happened I probably wouldn't come out here again, but I probably will - it's too fun," he said.

If arrested, the two people who fired the paintball shots will face simple battery charges.

EDITOR'S NOTE: In the interest of full disclosure, Andre Accardo is a relative of reporter Rob Masson.

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