Police Paintball Attacks A Hate Crime
POSTED: Thursday, January 27, 2011 - 2:59pm
UPDATED: Thursday, January 27, 2011 - 3:03pm
San Diego police search for shooters who targeted gay community center.
San Diego police are investigating one in a series of drive-by paintball attacks as a hate crime.
Police received reports of three attacks in the North Park and Hillcrest area Monday night involving a dark sedan with as many as three people shooting paintballs at passersby.
In an attack at the San Diego Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center at University Avenue and Center Street around 9:30 p.m., the suspects were heard yelling anti-gay slurs out the window.
"The passenger had a gun of some kind in his hand and I heard just one pop after another go off," said Raymond Penko.
Penko was standing in the parking lot outside The Center with five other people when the suspects' car drove by.
He was hit in the head and the leg with paintballs and saw one of his friends hit in the forehead.
He said at first he thought he was being shot by bullets and described it as the most frightening display of hate he's every experienced.
"It scared the hell out of me," Penko said.
Carlos Marquez has worked at The Center for two years and can't recall hearing about or witnessing a similar incident like this.
He says The Center has a very good working relationship with San Diego Police and will do all it can to help with the investigation.
Marquez said any time anyone uses that kind of hate language against any group it's very hurtful.
Two other similar incidents were reported around 10:30 p.m. police said.