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"Paintball wars," initially intended to curb gun violence, linked to 2 deaths

MILWAUKEE -- Cities plagued by shootings are now battling a new type of gun violence, known as "paintball wars."

In the last week, there have been more than 200 paintball shootings reported in Atlanta; Detroit; Greensboro, North Carolina and Milwaukee, where 65 incidents have been reported in four days.

Sgt. Melissa Franckowiak attributes the uptick to Atlanta-based rapper who calls himself 21 Savage. He reportedly started a movement called "guns down, paintballs up" in an effort to curb gun violence in Atlanta.

It's an idea that may have backfired. Last month, T'Rhigi Diggs was sleeping in the back of his mother's car when he was fatally shot by a real gun, two days after his third birthday. Police say he was killed by a middle school student who fired a handgun at people shooting paintballs from a car.

"My baby's strong really strong, my baby fight for his life almost 45 minutes before the ambulance got here," said Roshonda Craig, T'Rhigi Craig's mother.

21 Savage paid for the 3-year-old's funeral.

In another tragic incident in Greensboro, police linked a paintball fight to the death of 19-year-old Zyquarius Bradley. On April 20, his body was discovered next to a car covered with paintballs.

Frankowiak says even though paintball guns are toys, they're still dangerous.

"If they're shooting it directly at people, they're going to be arrested," she said.

Another concern for police is that, especially at night, a paintball gun could be mistaken for a real gun, which could potentially lead to a police-involved shooting. CBS News reached out to 21 Savage for comment, but have not heard back.

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