'Paintball pastor' arrested after kids shot

By Johan Schronen Time of article published Nov 30, 2005

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Controversial pro-gun lobbyist and missionary Peter Hammond is facing criminal charges after allegedly shooting children with a paint gun in a bizarre Halloween trick or treat game.

The Reverend Hammond, head of the Peninsula-based Frontline Fellowship, was arrested after surrendering to police in Pinelands.

At least four children allege they were hit by paintballs in Rosebank and Pinelands on the evening of October 31.

Hammond faces charges of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and is due to appear in the Goodwood magistrate's court on December 20.

Pinelands police said he had allegedly driven around Pinelands, Rondebosch and Rosebank with his three young children in the back of his car, calling costumed youngsters over then firing paintballs.

One boy was shot in the face.

Private detectives of PM Reynolds and Associates, hired by the father of one victim to probe the attacks, have taken statements from boys aged between 10 and 12, who were apparently lured to Hammond's car that night and shot with a paint gun.

Investigator Neville Bishop said Pinelands police had received a barrage of phone calls after news about the paintball attacks first surfaced but no statements or personal details of callers had been taken.

"There is a common thread in all my statements. The victims were all out on the streets dressed in Halloween costumes having fun when a car pulled up and they were lured closer by the driver shouting 'Trick or treat'," Bishop said.

"In two of the cases I'm still trying to establish which occupant in the car actually shot the children.

"The victim in the Pinelands attack, Marcus van der Oever, 12, who was shot at point-blank range in the face, so far has produced the most detailed account."

Marcus said: "I was walking with a friend in Broad Walk, wearing our costumes. It was getting dark, so we were going home.

"A car pulled up, driven by a man who had children with him in the front and in the back.

"The man shouted 'Trick or treat' and I can't remember what I said. Then the boy next to him lifted a paintgun and shot me in the face.

"I was shot off my feet and fell on the ground. The paint ball sprayed pink dye over me and my face was burning.

"The man laughed and pulled away," Marcus said.

Shocked and in pain, he stumbled home with his friend as his face started to swell.

Marcus's father, Thomas van der Oever, said his son had looked as if he had been kicked in the face.

"Marcus is lucky not to have lost an eye. His skin burst where the paintball hit him on the chin. It is so dangerous shooting someone in the face with a paintball gun at point-blank range."

Bishop said the first of two reports of paintball shootings came at dusk in Firth Street, Rosebank.

"Two boys from Sybrand Park had been playing trick or treat and were waiting for sweets at the gate of a house when they were shot. One boy took three paintballs and his friend one.

"Further up the road another boy was shot once.

"Then Marcus was attacked in Pinelands," Bishop said.

Van der Oever said he was appalled that a "man from the ministry" would behave in such a way, especially when he had his children with him.

Efforts to reach Hammond for comment were unsuccessful.

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