GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A growing problem of drive-by paintball shootings across the country is hitting Grand Rapids’ West Side. Some say a trend on TikTok is to blame.
Steve Garvelink is the latest reported victim of these drive-by shootings in Grand Rapids. He says he was riding his bike Monday afternoon and was turning onto Mt Mercy Drive near Bridge Street when he was hit coming down a hill.
Police are still looking for who is responsible. The only suspect information released was that the shots were fired from a silver sedan.
“I fell down in the street and was like OK, I’m covered in orange paint, that was a paintball noise,” Garvelink said. “Not a gun.”
A few days ago, there was an incident in Florida where someone in a crowd was targeted, thought it was bullets and returned fire with a real gun. The 10-year-old boy behind the paintball gun was sent to the hospital.
These drive-by paintball shootings have been shared on TikTok. A Chicago news station reported on the shootings back in October.
Now, they are hitting the West Side of Grand Rapids, where reports are coming in of people getting hit over the weekend and into Monday.
“Hit me with probably six or seven shots with a paintball gun. Probably 15 feet away too, so close-range shots.” Garvelink said.
Garvelink’s attack sent him off his bike and caused some welts, but he knows he was lucky because a wrong fall could have been deadly.
“It could have been a lot worse. It could have been a lot worse,” Garvelink said.
If you have any information about these incidents, you are asked to call the Grand Rapids Police Department at 616.456.3400 or Silent Observer 616.774.2345.