Man knocked unconscious in random paintball attack

Published: Nov. 15, 2019 at 11:16 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - "This is gonna be my memento, I guess," said Uptown resident Dave Stitcher.

Stitcher holds up the sweatshirt he was wearing when someone attacked him with a paintball gun.

"It was pretty terrifying, especially getting knocked out. That was, that was scary," Stitcher said.

It happened early Saturday morning, at around 2:30 a.m. Stitcher was walking home from a show at Tipitina’s.

"I decided to take St. Charles instead of Pyrtania because I just felt like, for whatever reason, that would be the safest route," he said.

Stitcher had just passed General Pershing when he sensed something behind him.

"They started shooting me about here and then I woke up over here but you can still see some of the paintball," said Stitcher.

Stitcher heard the popping sounds of a gun. He estimates he heard 12 to 15 shots, taking a number of hits to his side, shoulder and leg until until a paintball to the temple rendered him unconscious.

"It took me a second to really realize what it just happened and then I was like, 'oh my God, I just got shot,' Stitcher said. "Luckily, it wasn't lead, it was only paint."

He doesn't know how long he was out and Stitcher didn't want to take any chances. He walked to the hospital.

"For a concussion, it never is an overreaction because there's potential very bad swelling, even to a simple concussion, a loss of consciousness. So, it's worth going to the hospital for a check," explained LSU Health Emergency Medicine Chief Dr. Keith Van Meter.

Dr. Van Meter says, as innocuous as they seem, a paintball blow without the proper protection can cause more than a concussion.

"A strike directly to the chest has been cause vefib," Dr. Van Meter said. "It can just stop the heart...where the patient needs CPR and needs to be shocked by paramedics to come back."

Other potential paintball injuries include bruising to the heart, bruising to the lungs, a collapsed lung, broken ribs, a hemorage in the eye and a broken eye socket.

"Just from a little paintball," said Dr. Van Meter.

"You know, they had some good equipment from the sound of it," said Stitcher. "They're pretty good shots, too. I'll give them that."

To be clear, Stitcher is not against paintball guns.

"It's one thing if you're in the woods and you have a helmet and goggles and a paintball gun, too. And you're willing participant. That's one thing, but if it just comes out of the blue and somebody starts shooting you, you don't know what you're getting shot by, first of all. I didn't know if I was getting shot with bullets or what and it's terrifying," said Stitcher.

A week later Stitcher still has bruises and credits his sweatshirt for cushioning the shots to his body, and his head.

"Had I not had this on, I think it would've been a lot worse because this took a lot of the blow," said Stitcher.

The hospital called police officers who took a report while Stitcher was in the ER. He tells us doctors diagnosed him with a mild concussion.

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