Barberton man shot in the back three times in drive by paintball shooting

Published: Apr. 24, 2023 at 9:05 PM EDT
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BARBERTON, Ohio (WOIO) - A Barberton man caught a red Buick on his ring doorbell camera. He claims someone in that car shot him with a paintball gun three times while he was hitting golf balls in front of his home.

“They call me the Barberton Tiger Woods ‘cause you know I’ve been doing this my whole life,” said Mel Johnson.

Johnson has lived in Barberton for nearly 30 years and almost every day you’ll find him hitting golf balls in front of his home.

“Anytime I got a golf club in my hand it’s a nice day.”

This past Saturday around 1 P.M. Johnson was doing what he usually does in front of his home on 4th Street Northwest.

“About ready to hit a golf shot and I hear this sound like shucka, shucka, shucka and it hit me in my back, and I went down like this so I go what the heck so I turn around looked at the ground and I looked up in the sky I’m thinking what just hit me,” Johnson recalled.

Johnson said the force of the shots nearly knocked him down but he was able to catch a glimpse of the shooter.

“I saw this red car slowly driving and the windows coming up and I looked at this guy and I heard laughter, and the window came up and he took off flying,” he said. “They almost hit another car trying to get away.”

Johnson quickly called 911 and it wasn’t until officers arrived at his home that he realized he was shot by a paintball gun, not an actual gun.

“I thought I was gonna die in that street and I’m thinking because it felt like it penetrated my skin,” said Johnson. “It busts the skin up and the only thing that I kept hearing was the sound of that gun and what was in my back because it felt like bullets was in my back.”

Johnson was able to get some photos of the car he said was responsible and there are reports of a car fitting the same description shooting at others in Barberton.

“Another incident happened with kids at a soccer game in Newton Park and I’d rather have it be me than kids getting shot that’s a shame,” he said.

City councilman and business owner Shawn Rocky Jaber and some other business owners are offering a $750 reward for anyone with information that could help catch the shooter.

“Hopefully we can catch the person that did this, hopefully, Mel can feel comfortable going out here again,” said Jaber.