PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The man accused of seriously injuring a 14-year-old boy after ambushing him with a paintball gun is being held behind bars without bail.
21-year-old Edwin Perez faced a judge on Tuesday on charges that included aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child. Dressed in green jail clothes, he stood mostly silent as prosecutors laid out evidence.
“Edwin pointed the gun towards him and opened fire, hitting him throughout his entire body,” Passaic County Prosecutor Nubar Kasaryan said. “He was hit by approximately 20 to 25 paint balls.”
Authorities explained that the victim knew the shooter as the older brother of a classmate. The ambush happened last week at their Paterson home after an argument over a vape pen, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors pleaded that the judge keep Perez behind bars for the safety of the victim and his family.
“The victim’s family is in court, the victim is not,” Kasaryan said. “Your honor, the victim is terrified. The victim is on home schooling.”
A few days after the alleged paintball assault, Perez turned himself in to police. That’s partly why defense attorney Frank Sciro argued he should be held at home, and not in jail.
“I don’t believe that my client should be placed in the same county jail with murderers, rapists, robbers,” Sciro said. “I turned him in, I called police.”
Despite the accusations and turning himself in, Perez pleaded not guilty to the charges.
“An argument ensured, and bad judgement was exercised,” Sciro claimed.
It’s judgement Carolina Vasquez says her son still has to pay for. The wounds all over his body may be starting to heal, but the psychological trauma is still deeper than ever for the boy and his family.
“We’re all under panic,” she told CBS2 last week. “We don’t feel safe, it’s ridiculous, it’s really terrifying. We don’t feel safe.”