There were 5 or 6 people playing paint ball in the north end of Basin 3. I could hear machine gun-like noise and splats from pretty far away. As expected, they were trashing the place. I called 311 to report the incident, which the operator referred to as "Criminal Mischief". I call it trespassing and vandalism of city property. Within about 20 minutes an unmarked police van with 4 officers arrived. They were quickly followed by a patrol car with 2 officers. I pointed them to the area of the basin near the pumphouse next to the Jackie Robinson. I was a distance away and watched as they disappeared around the corner. A few minutes later they all emerged, but without any of the guys with the paintguns. As I walked towards them I heard the sound of the paintball guns starting up again.
Trespassing & Vandalism Supported by 104th Precinct
The officer who appeared to be in charge was a big guy with a shaved head, Officer Solomon, from the 104th Precinct. He told me, "We know these guys, they're good kids and we were told to leave them alone. Better they do it down there than on the street where someone could get hurt." I replied that I had been to meetings and had phone conversations with the Queens Commissioner of Parks, Dorothy Lewandowski, as well as Highland Park Administrator, Debbie Kuha. Both said that the paintball players vandalized the fences and trashed the forested basins, but that they've had trouble catching and stopping them. Officer Solomon replied, "I don't know what to tell you, we've been told to leave them alone."