Stockton Police Department

Teen Arrested In Paintball Attack On Patrons At California Gay Bar

Austin Richardson has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon and committing a hate crime.

An 18-year-old has been arrested for firing paintball pellets at patrons outside a gay bar in Stockton, California.

Austin Richardson was charged Tuesday in connection with a late-night attack on the Paradise Club on June 12, when two customers were hit as they left the venue.

A 26-year-old woman was hit in the arm, while a 27-year-old man was shot in the back. The front of the Paradise had also been hit with pellets a month earlier.

paradise stockton

Richardson has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon and committing a hate crime, according to police.

Two other suspects, 19-year-old Branden Staples and an unnamed 16-year-old, were also arrested.

Paintball players in action

While marketed as healthy fun, paintball guns can fire pellets up to 190 miles per hour and have caused major injuries—including blindness, organ wounds, brain swelling and even death.

“I’m just unhappy and angry with the situation,” clubgoer Robert Greenlee said at the time. “I never really felt unsafe, especially here—it’s kind of a home atmosphere. It’s always been safe and people here know their surroundings.”

The incident made national headlines as it happened the same time as the mass shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery