Homeless man blind after being shot with paintball guns

April 24, 2013 12:07:58 AM PDT
A homeless man is blind in his right eye after Fresno police say two teens targeted random strangers with paintball guns.

Felix Flores, 18, of Bakersfield has been arrested, along with a 17-year-old juvenile from Fresno. Police say the crime spree spanned several days, and involved many victims.

One man was hit in the torso. Down the street, another man lost his vision in one eye after he was pegged as he got ready for bed. And his girlfriend, who is battling breast cancer, was also hit.

Les Garcia and Gloria Alvarez had just celebrated her birthday last week. Family members brought her a cake, she got a new dress and even her fingernails painted.

The fun ended abruptly when witnesses say two teens drove by, firing rounds from a paintball gun. Les was hit in the eye and Gloria in the chin and chest.

Les Garcia said, "Apparently after that, they laughed about it and I went down on one knee and they just drove away."

They aren't the only victims. Sergeant Carlos Frausto says on at least three days, the pair targeted random homeless people in Downtown Fresno.

Sgt. Carlos Frausto said, "They didn't give any type of motive other than they were messing around."

Investigators say the suspects used powerful paintball guns to fire at people at different areas in Downtown Fresno. Some victims reported seeing what looked like a rifle pointed at them before they were struck.

Thomas Sharp owns Maximum Paintball in Central Fresno. He says the recreational guns are dangerous when abused.

Sharp said, "The velocity of the ball is going to travel at roughly about 300 feet per second which equates to up to around 200 miles per hour."

The paintball gun sounded much quieter than a real gun to Les, so initially he didn't think it could do major damage. His girlfriend was the first to tell him his eye suffered major trauma.

"The doctor said he's never seen anything like this before," said Les. "He said he tried to save my eyeball so he sewed it back together but it still left me blind."

The victims say they are grateful police caught the teens. Les and Gloria say they are hoping to forgive the young men, but for now, it's difficult.

"Still in my heart, I got a lot of anger for what they did to me," explained Les. "It's hard to see out of one eye."

The suspects are facing several felony charges including assault with a deadly weapon.

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