Five Individuals Arrested for Series of Assaults With ‘Splatter’ Pistols – NBC Los Angeles

on Aug23
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Felony and misdemeanor charges may be filed Tuesday against an 18-year-old man suspected of joining four others in a series of drive-by assaults throughout Banning and Beaumont using a pistol firing “splatter balls.”

Joseph Marc Anthony Gastelum of Banning was arrested and booked into the Smith Correctional Facility Thursday night on suspicion of recklessly discharging projectiles, carrying an unregistered loaded firearm and contributing to the delinquency of minors.

Taken into custody with Gastelum were three boys, ages 15 to 17 years old, whose identities were not disclosed, as well as 20-year-old Jaden Rivir Sanchez of Banning, all of whom were booked into detention facilities on suspicion of negligently discharging projectiles. The minors were later released to their parents, and Sanchez was released from the Banning jail after posting a $5,000 bond Friday.

According to the Banning Police Department, on Thursday evening, 911 dispatchers began receiving calls of “subjects shooting from a vehicle” in Banning and Beaumont.

“Several victims reported being shot at with possible BB guns,” according to a police statement.

One woman said she was hit outside the Hobby Lobby on South Highland Springs Ave. in Banning, and other people reported coming under fire in the area of Malki Rd. and Seminole Dr., near Cabazon, police said.

None of the victims required hospitalization.

Along with Banning police officers, Beaumont patrol personnel, Riverside County sheriff’s deputies, CHP officers and Morongo tribal police responded to the 911 calls.

The suspects were stopped in a vehicle at Malki and Seminole, where they were detained without incident.

According to Banning police, officers seized four SplatRBall blaster pistols, which fire water bead balls, resembling BBs but frangible, splattering on contact with a surface.

A semiautomatic “ghost gun,” assembled from homemade parts, was also confiscated from the vehicle, authorities said.

The firearm allegedly belonged to Gastelum.

Background information on the suspects was not available.

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