Paintball wars worry Southeast D.C. neighborhoods, participants argue ‘it’s just a game’

WASHINGTON, D.C. - If you drive past the corner of Mount View Place and Morris Road in the Anacostia neighborhood, you'll notice a building and a sidewalk covered in multi-color splatter.

It's the result of frequent "paintball wars" happening in neighborhoods across Southeast D.C., a concern for safety and property for residents in the area.

"Every resident in the District of Columbia should feel safe living in their neighborhoods," said the Metropolitan Police Department in a statement to DCW 50.

"The Metropolitan Police Department is aware of an ongoing issue of individuals illegally discharging paintball guns in Wards 7 and 8, causing property damage and concerning those living nearby.  Rest assured, our officers are working to identify these individuals and hold them accountable."

However, the participants argue it's a game, just for fun, amongst several neighborhoods that started within the past three weeks.

"A lot of people are playing, a lot of neighborhoods are playing," says Carl Thomas. "It's getting people away from the real guns."

Thomas says there are rules to the game and some of those rules were broken when the building was ambushed with paintball rounds.

He says his team never tries to hit anyone with the paintballs.

"We have to go so far to get the items, you want us to go the arenas we will go just to give us one, we don't have one here they're way out in Virginia," he says.

The building splattered with paintball aftermath is just feet from the Children of Mine Youth Center.

Co-director, Wanda Layne, says she knows many of the paintball participants personally from the center.

She says they always listen to her when she asks them to move away from the area.

"That's just the way they're burning off energy," she says. "It should maybe be shut down because it might be harming somebody else, but it's certainly not harming my children."

Metropolitan Police are reminding everyone that it is illegal for any person to carry or have in his or her possession outside any building in the District an air rifle, air gun, air pistol, B-B gun, spring gun, blowgun, bowgun, or any similar type gun.

If the public has any information about the paintball wars, pictures or videos, they are asked to contact Metropolitan Police at 202-727-9099.