Two Students Hit by Paintballs in One Night

Students on bikes were hit in two separate incidents near 55th Street on the night of October 16.


Looking north from 55th Street at Hyde Park and the South Side, with the Loop in the distance.

By Solana Adedokun

Two UChicago students reported being hit in a drive-by paintball shooting by 55th Street on the evening of Saturday, October 16.

Third-year Grey City writer Milutin Gjaja was hit with paintballs on Saturday at around 8:30 p.m. while riding home on his bike after studying at Harper Library. He was hit four times on his left leg and once on his ear. Another student reported being hit while biking back from the Point about 15 minutes later.

This is not the first time paintballers have struck students near campus. Last October, at least eight people in the University community were struck by paintballs shot from moving vehicles. Paintballing has historically been an issue in Hyde Park leading up to Halloween, with incidents reported in 2016 and at least as far back as 2003.

“Everything kind of blurs together. At first, I thought I was being shot at for real, but I think I realized they were just paintballs pretty quickly because I saw the paint on my pants,” Gjaja said. “It was fairly terrifying during the attack.”

Another third-year student was riding on their bike for about fifteen minutes when a black sedan pulled up next to them and began to shoot paintballs at them on 55th Street.

“In the moment, it was a lot scarier…the paintball gun was really loud in my ear, and, suddenly, I felt like someone had hit me really hard in my back and in my leg. I didn’t know what was happening, just that I was in pain and that I was getting shot at,” the student said.

The shooting continued until the student crashed into a pole near 54th and Kenwood. When they looked up, they saw a gun hanging out of the car window and heard the passengers laughing.

“I…didn’t understand why this random car would shoot at me,” they said. The student sustained injuries to their leg and back, making it hard for them to walk. They later posted about the incident on social media.