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Davenport woman struck by paintball has permanent eye damage
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Davenport woman struck by paintball has permanent eye damage

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Shelby Reichard and her boyfriend needed a "laid-back, relaxing night" last Friday.

The couple decided on a nice walk down Middle Road to the East Village. It was late — sometime after 11 p.m. — when they left.

"It had been a long week and couple of drinks sounded good," Reichard said. "We usually go out late anyways, so that's nothing new for us.

"It was fun. We were talking and laughing — like I said, it had been a long week and we were just enjoying each other's company."

Reichard's relaxing Friday night ended when a dark SUV drove past the couple near Middle and Jersey Ridge roads and she was shot in the face by a paintball gun.

The Davenport Police Department received other reports of a dark SUV driving around Friday night firing paint balls at people in the Village of East Davenport - including customers outside Brew, a pub at 1104 Jersey Ridge Road.

The paintball hit the 30-year-old Davenport resident just below her right eye.

"I remember we were walking and there were headlights coming and we waited for the car to pass," Reichard said. "The next thing I know, there's this person, like, hanging out of the back passenger-side window.

"I heard the sound, the sound of the paintball gun and I thought someone was making a noise to scare us. It didn't register until I felt the pain and I screamed and fell to the ground."

The shot hit Reichard just centimeters from her right eye.

"I remember my boyfriend saying 'It's really bleeding. There's lots of blood.' Then he panicked a little and was saying 'What do we do? What do we do?' We called 911 and waited there by the side of road for someone to come and help us," she said.

Reichard was taken to a local hospital, then transferred to an eye specialist in Iowa City.

"I have, I'm not sure, five to seven stitches in the corner of my eye and a pretty large abrasion on my face," she said. "I have retina damage and the doctor's told me the vision in my right eye will never go back to what it was before that night.

"But the doctor said I was very lucky. If that paintball hit my eye, I would be blind in that eye for good."

Reichard said with the support of her family, friends and boyfriend she has been able to cope with the aftermath of the attack.

"The pain was ... it was really bad after it happened," she said. "The pain is better now. I can barely see shapes right now and I am worried.

"I'm worried about my career and I'm worried this will happen to someone else."

Reichard works as an esthetician — specializing in skin care and make-up.

"Obviously, I need my vision for my work," Reichard said. "And I just started doing microblading and eyelash extensions — that's work where I really need my eyes.

"I don't know how things are going to work out."

The Davenport Police Department is investigating.

"Obviously, I want the people who did this to me punished for what they did," she said. "But it's even more important to prevent this from happening again.

"I was just walking down the side of a road, enjoying the night with my boyfriend and this happened to me. I don't want what happened to me to happen to anyone else."

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