8th grader shot with paintballs more than 20 times in surprise attack; man arrested

PATERSON, New Jersey -- Police in New Jersey have arrested a 21-year-old man they say attacked a 14-year-old boy with a paintball gun outside his home.

The victim was hospitalized with severe welts after he was shot 20 to 25 times at close range with the automatic weapon in Paterson Monday afternoon.

Authorities say Edwin Perez was arrested Thursday and charged with second-degree aggravated assault, unlawful possession of a weapon and endangering the welfare of a child.

The victim's mom, Carolina Vasquez, said her son was ambushed on his front steps and had no time to react. She says he is now traumatized, with nearly two dozen deep bruises and welts all over his body.

"It's really upsetting," she said. "This person just came with this paintball gun, and he started shooting firing."

She says her son simply answered a knock at the front door and suddenly found himself staring down the barrel of a gun.

"His lower back, his chest, his arms, his legs, front and back," she said. "They're deep, they're bloody, and they look black and blue and red."

She says while his physical wounds will heal, the psychological damage will take more time.

"He doesn't want to go back to school," she said. "He's scared. He's terrified. He says, what if this person comes and does something worse to me with a real gun?"
Copyright © 2022 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.