LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Los Angeles Police Department raised concern about the number of paintball shootings that have occurred this year, mostly in South Los Angeles, leading to injuries.
The department on Thursday reported 80 paintball shootings this year, including 75 in South Los Angeles. The shootings are felonies. Statistics from last year were not immediately available.
The LAPD says it has already made several arrests and confiscated multiple paintball guns.
Even though the toy guns only shoot paintballs, they can cause serious injuries.
"Paintball guns can look like real assault rifles and have the capacity to shoot bullets at a speed of 300 feet per second,'' the department said in a statement released in connection with a news conference at the 77th Community Police Station. "Paintball guns can cause serious soft tissue damage even if the person is wearing clothing over the area.''
The shooters often record videos of the so-called "paintball wars" and share the attacks on social media, police said.
Using a paintball gun to shoot someone outside of its intended use is a felony.
The LAPD is asking for the public's help to stop these shootings before someone is killed.
"Our fear is officers will encounter someone with a paintball gun and have to make a split second decision," said Cpt. Williams.
City officials are encouraging those who know people with paintball guns to make certain they are using them responsibly.
"Don't take this on to our streets. It's a recipe for disaster. It will cause great bodily harm and possible death," said L.A. City Councilmember Joe Buscaino.
City News Service contributed to this report.