Community, police react to the paintball craze in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A new trend could be coming to your neighborhood, but its causing problems for communities and police as they try to get a handle on it.

Paintball shootings, they've been on the rise and innocent people have been hurt.

Bill Parfitt, the owner of paintball shooting range Paintballl Paradyse said a lot of people get the itch to become a paintballer after playing popular video games like Fortnite.

Others who practice the sport say its becoming a movement  because they're putting real guns down to pick up paintball guns.

While it seems that paintball is becoming more popular here in Charlotte, police say it's causing problems within the area, problems CMPD is trying to stop.

"You've got people shooting at cars. You've got people shooting at kids at bus stops," CMPD Spokesperson Rob Tufano said. "I heard a report in north Charlotte the other day of somebody shooting at a dog, I mean come on. Something is gonna go sideways if we don't as a community get a handle on this."

In 2018 alone, the CMPD has received more than 160 calls for issues connected to paintballs

The most memorable was just a couple weeks ago when there was a paintball shootout in south Charlotte along Nations Ford and Arrowood Road.

Two paintballers who were involved said the paintball guns are an alternative to the real thing.

"You can just get anybody together and play paintball," paintball shooter Dallas Brannon said.

There's more to the trend, businesses like Paintball Paradyse are cashing in over the craze

"It's just popular, people want to get out and move around a little bit," Parfitt said.

Parfitt runs Paintball Paradyse, and he doesn't want to be part of the problem, but hopefully a solution to those who may be paintball trigger happy.

At his center you can shoot all you want, but you can't take the equipment home.

"Everything stays here so we can regulate it, we'll contribute anyway we can," Parfitt said.

As the weather continues to warm up Parfitt said he expects the flow of customers to continue.

He just hopes the crimes associated with paintball die down.  Police say they will charge those who use paintball guns in the wrong way.

Copyright 2018 WBTV. All rights reserved.