USA

‘I need my eyes,’ says victim of paintball gun shooting who lost sight in one eye, as Chicago police arrest 6 in recent attacks

Six people were arrested, suspected of using paintball guns for shooting attacks, which have spiked recently citywide and have injured more than 125 people, including George Morales, who lost sight in his eye Thursday.

“Charges are pending” for the six, said police spokesman Tom Ahern. It was not clear with what they will be charged.

Area 4 Deputy Chief Ernest Cato announced the arrests during a news conference Friday night at the 10th District police station, 3315 W. Ogden Ave.

Morales, 44, was standing at a bus stop at 24th Street and Pulaski Road on Thursday afternoon about 2:30 p.m. after dropping off his truck at the shop to have the engine worked on.

“I turned around and saw a white car parked right in front of me. I saw two guys in the car,” Morales said, adding they looked to be in their early 30s. One pointed a long gun that looked like a real gun.

“I started running, but he saw my face,” Morales said. Then, the man started shooting at him and hit him in the left eye. “It was painful.”

Paramedics on the scene spotted green paint all over him and told Morales he’d been shot with a paintball.

Doctors at Mount Sinai Hospital advised him it was a "miracle'' that his right eye had not also been injured, said Morales, who was recovering at his Southwest Side home Friday night.

Morales, who fixes windows for a living, said it probably will affect his job. "I need my eyes.''

“This is crazy,” he said of the attack. “I’m blind in my left eye.”

Cato said police were taking these attacks very seriously, after more than 125 people have been injured recently, including Morales, whom he did not name, and others who also had been shot in the face.

“It’s actually a weapon,” Cato said of paintball guns. “We are treating this like they are shooting real bullets.”

The arrests were the result of a “mission” by 10th District officers who “stayed focused” and used surveillance video and placed themselves where many of the attacks occurred to find the six, who are suspected of injuring seven people.

Detectives are working together to try and link up the arrests to the recent attacks, which aren’t a “tradition,” Cato said, responding to a reporter’s question.

"This is not a tradition. It’s something that has increased.''

Cato did not immediately make clear a motive.

With Halloween on Saturday, Cato urged the community to contact police by using cpd.com if they see anyone with a paintball gun.

“Everyone, please have a safe Halloween, and we do take this seriously.''

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