NEW YORK — A series of paintball attacks has a Brooklyn neighborhood on edge, and police on Thursday were investigating whether they were hate crimes against the Jewish community.
As CBS2’s Christine Sloan reported, orange paint was splashed over the walls of a synagogue on 12th Avenue in Borough Park, Brooklyn – although most of it had been cleaned off by Thursday afternoon. Witnesses said someone aimed a paintball at people standing in front of the building Tuesday night.
Then blocks away, on the corner of 62nd Street and 11th Avenue, police said a 14-year-old Jewish boy was hit by a paintball. A shirt on the street was left shattered with color.
“When you are the victim of this kind of attack, that causes long-term effect,” said state Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn). “It’s not just getting rid of the paint. It creates a certain fear on the part of the individual.”
Hikind has been in touch with the NYPD, which is investigating to see if the attacks are hate crimes.
“Two of the people were outside the synagogue, and you know, synagogues are very clearly identified with the Hebrew and so on,” Hikind said. “The people outside the synagogues had beards.”
The same night, a 48-year-old man was also the victim of a paintball attack near 13th Avenue and 67th Street, but he was not Jewish.
“This used to be a very safe neighborhood,” said Anthony DeSantis. “Paint balling and popping door locks it’s all the same group. It’s just tormenting the area.”
This was not the first time. In March 2015, Jewish teenagers were struck by paintballs in Williamsburg as they walked home from temple. Another was hit a week before that.
In the latest cases, the NYPD was still searching for suspects as of Thursday. Members of the synagogue that was targeted feared that if the paintball suspects are not caught, they will strike again.