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BB, paintball gun shootings continue in Wooster

Wooster police and campus security are investigating similar incidents that have occurred throughout the city

Lexi Riley-DiPaolo
Staff Writer

An uptick in crimes involving paintball and BB guns in the City of Wooster has also impacted The College of Wooster campus in November. Two reported incidents on Nov. 5 and 14 brought the running total, since late August, to eight reported off-campus incidents and 10 incidents total.

Joe Kirk, associate director of Security and Protective Services for The College of Wooster, expressed surprise at the recent incidents. “In my 20 years at Wooster, I have not had to deal with incident of paintballs or BBs shot at students so this is new, although I have dealt with incidents of other things tossed at students,” Kirk explained. “I know that the city has seen these incidents in other parts of the city as well.”

City of Wooster Police Chief Matt Fisher agreed that there seems be a recent rise in incidents, but also believes the acts do not target any specific demographic. “These incidents [have also] happened in other areas of the city and it does not appear that C.O.W. students, faculty or staff were targeted,” Fisher noted.

Fisher provided copies of incident reports dating back to Aug. 31, 2017, that show paintball shootings of both private property and residences, as well as residents themselves.

(1) Aug. 31, 2017 – a couple walking down Market Street after dinner were shot multiple times with paintballs.

(2) Aug. 31, 2017 – around the same time two homeowners reported that their residences were shot with paintballs as well, one on multiple occasions.

(3) Sept. 6, 2017 – a homeowner contacted police to report multiple paintball marks on her house.

(4) Oct. 8, 2017 – an incident at the Salvation Army involved three people shot by paintballs.

(5) Oct. 8, 2017 – a resident’s house and truck were damaged by paintballs.

(6) Oct. 10, 2017 – another Wooster residence was shot with paintballs.

(7) Oct. 11, 2017 – three people standing outside Dino’s Drive Thru were shot by paintballs.

(8) Nov. 5, 2017 – A College of Wooster student walking south past Babcock Hall was struck with a paintball fired from a passing vehicle.

(9) Nov. 14, 2017 – a resident leaving work and walking down Beall Ave reported being hit with three BB gun shots.

(10) Nov. 14, 2017 – two College of Wooster students (one walking south of campus near McDonalds and the other on Beall Ave. near the library) were struck with BB pellets.

According to Fisher, the vehicles involved in the various incidents have been described variously as “white,” “white Chrysler SUV,” “white Chrysler minivan” and “white Chevy Traverse,” with one individual reporting the vehicle was red.

Both city police and campus security report attempting to review any available security camera footage from the various incidents. “We … checked camera video from the incident and believe that we have been able to identify the car(s) involved,” reported Kirk. “We do not have clear license plates at this point but will continue to investigate.”

Both Kirk and Fisher encourage residents and students to be vigilant. “We have to work collectively together to keep this campus safe, so we need campus community members to be aware of their surroundings, be attentive when walking around the campus and the community, report any suspicious activity or incident,” Kirk encouraged. “I would also recommend when possible to walk in groups of two or more.”

“Be aware of your surroundings, don’t walk with headphones in, be a good witness. A license plate would be tremendously helpful in solving these incidents,” added Fisher.

Anyone with information about these incidents or any other suspicious activity should contact Campus Security or the local Police. In addition, the SGA will be hosting a campus conversation on Monday, Dec. 4 from 7-8 p.m. in the Lowry main lounge to discuss campus safety and security as well as these incidents.

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