Throughout the ages, teenagers have always played pranks on people around them. But it seems like many years ago, those pranks were mostly of the harmless variety like wrapping houses with toilet paper, egging cars, and occasionally pummeling a mailbox or two.
Many of today’s pranks, however, appear to be in a different class. Instead of personal property suffering damage, it’s innocent people who are being harmed.
This week, an 18-year old man pled guilty in a Henderson courtroom to one count of conspiracy to commit battery, which is a gross misdemeanor. Robert Lockwood and two teenage minors were convicted of a nine-day spree of mayhem during the month of December. But they weren’t causing destruction of property; they were using paintball guns to fire at unsuspecting residents at close range.
Paintball guns fire high-velocity pellets which usually leave little more than a bruise when the weapons are used properly. Paintball participants are protected with helmets, visors or goggles, and body padding to minimize the risk of injury.
But when fired at unprotected civilians, paintball guns can cause serious injuries. In fact, two people who were accosted by the trio suffered optical injuries, and one elderly man who has a pacemaker in his heart was shot in the chest. The victims also claimed that the three former Foothills High School Students laughed and mocked them after opening fire.
Lockwood will be sentenced next month, and the other two have already been placed in juvenile facilities for their actions. In addition, Lockwood and the parents of the two other teens (because the perpetrators are minors) could be named as defendants in subsequent personal injury lawsuits filed by the three victims. Such litigation could allow the victims to receive reimbursement for medical expenses as well as damages for emotional distress.