Paintball attack on homeless man

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by madoka, Dec 30, 2008.

  1. madoka macrumors 6502


    Jul 17, 2002

    COSTA MESA – Gregory Dahlgren said he just didn't see it coming.

    The 48-year-old homeless man, who was sitting at a picnic table in Lions Park and reading a magazine Friday evening, said he was in shock when a group of six teenage boys playing in the park turned their paintball guns on him.

    "They shot me in the face," he said this afternoon. "I took a lot of rounds."

    Dahlgren, who had been hit in the right eye, remembers writhing in pain and covering his face with his hands to protect himself from further injury.

    But that didn't help. The teens fired on almost every inch of his body – his arms, legs and torso. Dahlgren turned back and ran. He was still getting hit on the back of his legs, his back and buttocks.

    He made his way to an alley on Center Street and over to the intersection 19th Street where he knew his friends, Jose Zamora and Scott Solverson hung out.

    "I just wanted to get help," Dahlgren said. "I don't even remember now how I made it there."

    Police initially said Dahlgren was assaulted in an alley on Center Street, but Dahlgren said the incident happened at Lions Park.

    "I was the only one there other than those kids," he said.

    Dahlgren said he is now in fear of losing his eyesight.

    "I'm praying every minute that I get vision back in my right eye," he said. "It was swollen shut until today."

    Dahlgren said a doctor at Hoag Hospital said there is a good chance that he will never see out of that eye again. His left eye is still blurry from all the strain, he says.

    Dahlgren's hands and legs still bear the scars of Friday's attack. He has paintball burn marks on his hands, legs and all over his back. His neck is red and swollen and blood still oozes out of his injured right eye.

    Police are still looking for the teenagers who attacked Dahlgren. There seemed to have been no eyewitnesses to the incident, said Costa Mesa police Detective Carlos Diaz.

    The incident involved six males between the ages of 15 and 18, wearing jeans and T-shirts, he said. Several of the teens were armed with paintball guns, Diaz said.

    Dahlgren's friends, who are still shaken up from the incident, say his right eyeball was popping out of its socket when he came crawling to them for help immediately after the attack.

    Zamora described Dahlgren as a quiet person, who walked around the Westside neighborhoods with his metal shopping cart and black sleeping bag, picking up cans and recyclables to buy food. Other homeless people in the area call Dahlgren "Red" because of his red hair, Zamora said.

    "I can't imagine he would hurt anyone," he said. "Why would anybody do this to him?"

    Zamora said he was shocked when he saw Dahlgren approach the intersection of Center and West 19th to get help. He and Solverson tried to comfort Dahlgren immediately after the attack and wash off the blood with a couple of bottles of water they had close by.

    Dahlgren collapsed right by Zamora's Christmas tree, a palm tree he had decked with items from teddy bears to little bird houses and discarded decorations.

    Solverson said his stomach turned when he looked at his bloodied friend.

    "He was bleeding real bad – all over his body," he said. "He had blood all over his face."

    What really worried them was Dahlgren's eye.

    "It was hanging out," said Solverson, who called 911. "Like something from a horror movie. I couldn't bear to look at it. It was too gross and sad."

    Zamora said he and other homeless people in Costa Mesa Westside are often taunted and teased by teenagers and they do get into fights.

    "But this was too much," he said, shaking his head. "Someone jacked him and they jacked him real good."

    Ellie Weaver, an administrative coordinator at Someone Cares Soup Kitchen, said she was shocked by the incident. The soup kitchen, barely a block away from where the assault took place, serves hundreds of homeless people every day.

    "It really saddens me to hear this because these are the people I work with," she said. "They are the first people I see everyday. This is not nice."

    Diaz said he has heard of skirmishes in the area involving homeless people.

    "But we don't hear anything to this extent," he said. "This incident is particularly sad because it was totally unprovoked."

    If arrested, the assailants could be charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon, Diaz said.

    Dahlgren, who said he has hung out in Costa Mesa's Westside for the last 13 months, said he is left with a sad and bitter feeling after the attack.

    "I feel like I was victimized," he said. "I've never felt this way before."

    Anyone who witnessed this incident or has more information is asked to call Detective Carlos Diaz at 714-754-5097 or e-mail him at
  2. Unspeaked macrumors 68020


    Dec 29, 2003
    West Coast
    I hope they find those kids and put them in front of a paintball firing squad.
  3. dmr727 macrumors G3


    Dec 29, 2007
    I hope they catch those idiots. How horrible.
  4. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    I absolutely do not tolerate the type of people who don't care about others. If you can actually do this to others, you deserve absolute, physical harm and anguish. For this type of act, I just don't care for "rehabilitation".

    It's no consolation for the homeless man though. What was his crime, for being homeless? Perhaps it was for sitting in the park peacefully. :mad:

    That's it? Those kids are going to get away with this without a reasonable punishment. I just know it.
  5. AppleMatt macrumors 68000


    Mar 17, 2003
    By the injury I'm guessing this was a CO2 paintball gun. I've been hit on my finger knuckles with one of those from close range and it hurt like hell - I almost fell to the floor. To think of it hitting my eye - unimaginable. To think that people would carry on firing at close range someone in that condition is equally unthinkable. Even crooks have 'a code', and this breaks it.

    Whilst I don't condone taking the law into your own hands, if I were a relative of his I'd be so unbearably tempted to give them all get a peppering at close range, whilst cheerily informing them that they couldn't complain or do anything about it because it's funny, right? Great laugh.

    I doubt they will find them, based on the poor description. But I hope the kids who did it are bricking themselves watching the news about it; this kind of think usually prompts a local outrage.

    edit: Actually, go on the news and ask them to man-up, if they think they're tough guys. He should state he won't press charges if they agree to come forward and get battered with a paintball gun, from the same range. (In the UK this would be illegal, but how about over there?)

  6. dmr727 macrumors G3


    Dec 29, 2007
    I'm hoping the teenagers slip up and brag about it to the wrong person.
  7. petermcphee macrumors 6502a


    Aug 20, 2008
    They will get caught for exactly this reason. They're dumb enough to do what they did, they'll be dumb enough to talk about it.
  8. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6


    Aug 17, 2007
  9. iTeen macrumors 65816


    Aug 13, 2007
    I can see a group of teens hitting a homeless person in the butt or something, but in the face, and at such close range?
    What *******s. They deserve whats coming to them when they get caught.
  10. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Wasn't this a plotline on CSI: Miami last season or the season before? It should have stayed there and out of reality. Punishing those kids is one thing, but beyond that, the city needs to look at attitudes in general. If it produced one handful of kids who would do this, it may have already produced more, and it needs to act before this kind of violence is repeated.
  11. dmr727 macrumors G3


    Dec 29, 2007
    Well, the Los Angeles metropolitan area is pretty large. It might be hard to narrow it down. Lots and lots of loonies around here. :)
  12. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Then they'd better get to work. There are lots and lots of loonies, but this is still out of the ordinary, even for LA.
  13. wawanarchist macrumors regular

    Oct 19, 2008
    Being an avid paintball player myself, stuff like that really pisses me off. First of all it just hurts an innocent person, and second of all, it makes an entire sport look bad. These kids need to get lives and jobs and do something good rather than just hurting everything around them
  14. dmw007 macrumors G4


    May 26, 2005
    Working for MI-6
    Wow, this is truly terrible. I feel so sorry for poor Gregory Dahlgren, I hope that he will be okay. :(

    As for the teens who shot this innocent man, I hope that they are caught and punished for their actions. :mad:

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