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Paintball 'wars' tied to fatal shooting in Greensboro, police say

Paintball 'wars' tied to fatal shooting in Greensboro, police say

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GREENSBORO — “Paintballs up, guns down.”

It’s a rally cry meant to encourage an end to gun violence. But in Greensboro recently, it may be what led to a fatal shooting.

Greensboro police Capt. Nathaniel Davis said officers believe a “paintball war” led to the April 20 shooting death of 19-year-old Zyquarius Shalom Quadre Bradley.

“We think we can say that the activity can be linked to one of our most recent homicides,” Davis said.

Officers found Bradley about 11:40 p.m. April 20, fatally shot next to his 2004 Cadillac CTS sedan. The car had been hit several times with paintballs.

Rappers, including Atlanta’s Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, better known as 21 Savage, have been encouraging paintball “wars” as a means to stop gun violence.

The rapper has been featured in a series of YouTube videos participating in the “wars.”

But the “wars” are becoming a problem for police.

Paintball guns use pressurized air and can launch paint balls 100 feet at 200 mph. They can fire between eight and 30 shots per second.

Since April 1, Greensboro police have responded to nearly 40 calls throughout the city because of paintball “wars.”

There’s the obvious problems with the “wars”: They cause property damage and destruction.

But that’s the best case scenario.

The “wars” claimed a 3-year-old boy’s life in DeKalb County, Ga., after someone pulled out a real gun during a paintball war and the toddler got caught in the crossfire.

A 2-year-old girl in Charlotte is in therapy after being pelted nine times by paintballs in her front yard while her mother unloaded groceries from a vehicle.

And a woman in Gaston County was shot by a paintball gun in the neck.

Up until Bradley’s death, the most publicized “war” locally damaged the building at Dick’s Sporting Goods off Bridford Parkway.

The last paintball call police received before Bradley’s death involved the 19-year-old himself.

Davis said officers spoke with Bradley an hour before the shooting about his alleged involvement in a paintball “war.” His Cadillac was covered in paintball strikes and he had equipment in the backseat that officers confiscated.

Investigators encountered Bradley again about 11:40 p.m. after Guilford Metro 911 received five calls reporting that a man, later identified as Bradley, had been shot in the 3300 block of Beck Street.

“Somebody just drove past shooting,” a man told the operator.

That man told dispatchers that Bradley had been shot in the chest. The caller could be heard encouraging Bradley to keep breathing.

A second man told operators that Bradley had been inside a vehicle when the shooting happened, but bystanders moved him out to the ground trying to help him. Operators could hear screaming in the background.

The shooting and the screaming woke several other people in the neighborhood who also called 911.

“They having some kind of neighborhood fight back there — shooting,” a woman told an operator. “It’s terrible.”

A woman told operators she heard a series of six gunshots and then the screams.

Another woman told operators she heard people yelling that someone was shot or hit. She went outside her apartment to find out more for the operator.

“We need an ambulance,” the woman said when she returned. “It’s one young male that’s been hit.”

Bradley had been shot twice and taken to an area hospital where doctors pronounced him dead on arrival.

Witnesses told police they saw a gold sedan, possibly a 1990s Buick or similar vehicle, sitting near Bradley’s car before the shooting and leaving the area afterward.

An arrest has not been made in the shooting death, which marked the city’s ninth homicide of the year.

Danielle Battaglia is a reporter for the Greensboro News & Record. Contact her at or 336-373-4476 and follow @dbattagliaNR on Twitter.

Danielle Battaglia is a reporter for the Greensboro News & Record. Contact her at or 336-373-4476 and follow @dbattagliaNR on Twitter.


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