Phantom Paintball Attacks Continue for Second Month

By Richard Brenneman
Friday July 21, 2006

Berkeley’s phantom paintballer is at it again, and police are asking for the public’s help in nailing the serial splatterer. 

The count to date includes 13 people, one car and one dog. 

The pigment-blasting baddie embarked on his spree on June 13, reports Berkeley police spokesperson Sgt. Mary Kusmiss. 

The first report came just before 8 p.m. that evening from a woman who said she’d been hit while walking along the 1300 block of University Avenue. 

Within minutes another attack was reported from the 1900 block of Ward Street, where a victim standing on the sidewalk was struck. 

The next call came minutes later from a motorist whose car was struck near the corner of Solano Avenue and Tulare Street. 

The next report came a minute after midnight on June 16, this time from a 30-year-old woman who was hit as she walked along Shattuck Avenue near the Carleton Street intersection. 

At 1 p.m., the attacker was back, hitting a pedestrian strolling on Shattuck Avenue near Blake Street. Less than two hours later, a woman called to say she had just been splatted behind the ear as she walked near the Radio Shack store in the 1600 block of University Avenue. 

On June 21 a woman was struck near the border of San Pablo and Cedar Streets, though she didn’t call in a report until the 30th, the day this paper published its first account of the mysterious assaults. 

On July 10, at Shattuck Avenue and Stuart Street a Berkeley woman, 56, was riding her bike at 7:45 p.m. when shot. No suspect was identified.  

The next day at 2:25 p.m., a woman was hit as she drove her car along the 1600 block of University Avenue, 

At 4:45 p.m. another projectile was fired at a driver, this time a father driving his eight-year-old son on errands. 

The father told police he was driving northbound on Shattuck near Channing Way when something whizzed by the father and stuck his son on the left cheek, leaving a red two-inch welt. 

At 4:25 p.m. on July 12, the paintball shooter was back again, hitting a 48-year-old Oakland man who was walking south on Shattuck near Russell Street. 

The man told officer he felt a “tremendous sting” on the front of the throat, then touched his neck to find his fingers tipped with pink paint. 

Four days later it was a dog’s turn to be splattered as the critter’s 25-year-old mistress walked her pooch along Martin Luther King Jr. Way near Cedar Street at 8 p.m. 

A minute later, officers were called to the 2000 block of Ashby, where a commuter had been blasted on a walk to the BART station. 

Sgt. Kusmiss said two more attacks were reported just minutes apart on Thursday. 

In the first assault, a man was hit at 12:25 p.m. as he walked along Shattuck near Kittredge Street. Five minutes later, a woman was hit near Shattuck and Parker. Both were struck in the chest by white paintballs.  

“We’re hoping the community will help us catch whoever’s doing this,” said Sgt. Kusmiss. 

While the paintballs could put out an eye—the reasons recreational paintballers wear goggles—the officer said an attack on a motorist could lead to a panic reaction and a major accident. 

She asked anyone with any information to possible suspects or vehicles involved in the attack to call BPD’s non-emergency number, 981-5900—though anyone seeing an attack as it happens should call 911.