BRIDGEPORT — Like clockwork, paintball guns have become the seasonal weapon-of-choice for many teenagers throughout the city, leaving multiple people injured and several paintball guns seized.

Police Capt. Roderick Porter said paintball gun mischief in the city around Halloween happens on a yearly basis, but that this year’s activity started earlier and is a bit different from what they’ve experienced in the past.

“This is something that unfortunately happens in communities around this time of year,” Porter said. The attacks typically seem to be carried out by teenagers, he said.

Porter said usually teens shoot paintballs at properties or businesses around Halloween. But he said that mischief became more serious when they began to target people this year.

“It’s kind of disturbing that they’re using paintballs to target individuals,” Porter said. “In this day and age, it’s frightening. You think you’re being shot.”

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Porter said he grew more concerned when he heard the assailants were shooting victims with frozen paintballs.

“They’re inflicting pain. This seems like they’re doing this to really hurt someone,” Porter said. “What starts out as a juvenile prank can turn into being a really serious injury to someone.”

Serious injuries have been seen in some of the attacks in the city this month, including one male victim who was shot in the face on Oct. 2 around 9:30 p.m. He was at least partially blinded, but no update on his conditions was available Friday.

“This is the first time I’ve heard of injuries like this,” Porter said. “Usually it’s somebody’s car got shot up (with paintballs) or somebody’s house. Even if it’s not frozen, when you get hit in the eye with a paintball, it can damage it.”

On Oct. 2, 41-year-old Victor Cacho was shot multiple times by frozen paintballs at the corner of Ogden Street and Noble Avenue around 9:30 p.m. He said the suspects shot him as they drove by in a vehicle. One paintball hit him in the neck, three in the back and three in the rear.

“I thought I was going to die that day,” Cacho said “When I saw the gun, I thought, ‘They want to kill me.’ If they had been real bullets, I wouldn’t be alive today.”

On Oct. 10, Chief Armando Perez said several paintball guns had been recovered and that at least one person was arrested in connection with paintball attacks.

Porter said someone who is arrested for a paintball attack can face multiple charges, including second- or first-degree assault, breach of peace and disorderly conduct. He said the charges would vary based on the circumstances of the shooting and any injuries caused.

But Cacho, despite feeling immense pain during and after the attack, said he doesn’t want the teenagers who shot him to end up in serious trouble.

“If it were up to me, I would give these boys that did this attack a chance,” Cacho said. “But justice is justice, and it’s the law that punishes, not me.”

And Porter had a message to kids and young adults engaging in these attacks.

“Go to a place where you can do it in a safe manner, where it’s no threat to anyone else, where you take all of the safety precautions,” Porter said. “And it’s actually fun, to do it in that manner. And then you’re not shooting at people on the streets of Bridgeport.”

“To our citizens who may be concerned about this: It’s obviously something that’s on our radar that we’re aware of and we’re proactively trying to combat these incidents,” Porter added.

Staff writer Cedar Attanasio contributed to this report.