San Diego police are investigating one in a series of drive-by paintball attacks as a hate crime.
Police received reports of three attacks in the North Park and Hillcrest area Monday night involving a dark sedan with as many as three people shooting paintballs at passersby.
In an attack at the San Diego Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center at University Avenue and Center Street around 9:30 p.m., the suspects were heard yelling anti-gay slurs out the window.
“The passenger had a gun of some kind in his hand and I heard just one pop after another go off,” said a man who asked that he be identified only as Raymond.
Raymond was standing in the parking lot outside The Center with five other people when the suspects’ car drove by. He was hit in the head and the leg with paintballs and saw one of his friends hit in the forehead.
He said at first he thought he was being shot by bullets and described it as the most frightening display of hate he's every experienced.
“It scared the hell out of me,” Raymond said.
Carlos Marquez has worked at The Center for two years and can't recall hearing about or witnessing a similar incident like this. He says The Center has a very good working relationship with San Diego Police and will do all it can to help with the investigation.
Marquez said any time anyone uses that kind of hate language against any group it's very hurtful.
Two other similar incidents were reported around 10:30 p.m. police said. One was reported at 30th and Howard. Another incident was reported in the 4100 block of Idaho.
Police say they're investigating the one incident here in Hillcrest as a hate crime -- but so far, not the other two.