A paintball fired from a passing car in the Rattlesnake Valley late Saturday night came within a sliver of blinding a bicyclist.

“It was the scariest thing that’s ever happened to me in my life,” said Emily Plant, who sported a shiner Tuesday along with a terrifying memory.

Plant and her husband, Andrew, were biking north around midnight on Rattlesnake Drive where it takes a 90-degree turn in front of Lincolnwood. The small car, a dark blue or black hatchback, was traveling in the other direction.

Plant said it happened so fast she didn’t recall many details, but she thinks the shot came from the backseat window on the driver’s side.

“I heard three shots. One hit my hand and another hit my face,” she said.

The latter made contact on bone above the eye. Andrew Plant was also hit but not injured, according to a police report.

Andrew immediately called 9-1-1, though it was impossible to provide many details.

Emily Plant said a neighbor told her there was paintball damage at several residences in the neighborhood that night.

“I’m going to be OK,” she said. “I have a little bit of nerve damage right now and a nice black eye. But I’m extremely lucky I’m not blinded.”

Plant and Missoula police are asking for help tracking down the paintball shooter.

“Anybody with information of who it might be or any other victims from the same time period, we’d sure like to hear from you directly or through Crime Stoppers,” Police Sgt. Travis Welch said Tuesday.

Welsh can be contacted at 552-6290. Call Five Valleys Crime Stoppers at (406) 721-4444. You may be eligible for a cash reward and you can remain anonymous.

Reporter Kim Briggeman can be reached at (406) 523-5266 or by email at kbriggeman@missoulian.com.

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(12) comments


A paintball gun, with its water soluble paint doesn't really cause "damage" to hard objects like walls, cars, windshields, etc. A spray with a hose should take care it right off. It's only people and animals that are harmed, with small bruises, and of course when not wearing eye protection someone could lose an eye.


It's sad that it happens at all, and really frustrating when it happens to two really nice people.


Yes with a paintball gun. Paintball shootings have been happening more and more than last 2 years. My parents and mine were both at least 2 summers ago, but I see evidence of it on various car windows around town


I used to think that though we have very liberal "carry laws" in this state, that it was ironic in that you really did not need to carry a weapon for self protection here. But the more I read the Missoulian, the more I am becoming a believer in carrying to avoid becoming the next victim of being attacked in a park, on the street, or pepper sprayed by some fool. The mere presentation of a hand gun would normally be enough unless in the gravest of extremes. Let's face it citizens, there are those among us who have the potential to do harm and their minds are fogged by substance abuse, mental illness, and just plain hate. You want health insurance, right? In case you need it? Well why not some self protection ? I have been physically assaulted twice now with no arrests. Unlikely there will be a third time.


Get these scum teenagers off the street before they themselves are shot for real by some homeowner or regular citizen.,


Pretty quick to assume they are teens. adults to stupid stuff too you know.


I would love to get my hands on these cowards. Seriously? Shooting people, unprovoked, from a car as you drive away? That is truly despicable.

John P Weber
John P Weber

They're beyond idiot status. Their brainless wimps. But they need to be found and charged with felonies and be required to pay for all damage done and be given 5,000 hours community service on any days they are not in school or working.


Lets find these idiots. Get the word out, re-post this on all your social media and email it to all your Missoula contacts. Someone will have the small piece of information that leads to them being caught....


They WILL be found. There are people out there with information. Hopefully we get the word out far and wide and the tips will come in....keep sharing folks!


Idiots just like that shot my parents car near Griz Grocery...mine was shot on South Avenue.


SlickeryBlends: With a paintball gun? Was it Saturday evening? If so call the number and report it because every lead helps...

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