It was a paintball gun.
Trantham, a well-known activist who speaks out about violence in Wards 7 and 8 and is an advisory neighborhood commissioner, was struck in the back by a yellow paintball. “The one shooting was laughing like it was funny,” he said.
He was not hurt, and Trantham said he does not believe he was targeted. But he worries that if the shootings persist, a more dire outcome could result.
“All I know is I saw what looked like a rifle,” the local leader said. “It could have been a gun. They’re riding around shooting at people at random. . . . What if someone had a real gun and fires back?”
D.C. police took a report but did not make any arrests. Trantham had to clean splotches of yellow paint from the back of his arms, white shirt and blue book bag.
Wards 7 and 8, both east of the Anacostia River, are the sites of nearly two-thirds of the District’s 76 homicides this year. Trantham agreed that a paintball strike pales in comparison to violence the area faces, but he worries about how brazen the attack was.
Authorities said it was not clear whether the paintball incident is related to nine random shootings in Southeast and Northeast Washington this month in which six people were injured by BB gun pellets.
Police said they believed the same people were involved in the BB shootings, which resulted in no serious injuries. One occurred on Alabama Avenue SE, about one mile from where Trantham was struck by the paintball.
In 2017, at least 10 people were injured on a single day in Southeast Washington when they were shot with paintball guns fired from a Ford Fusion. Three of the victims were taken to hospitals for injuries. No arrests were made.