‘Two young teens’ attack Trans Pride picnic in Bristol park with BB guns
The organiser of the event was hit by one of the pellets
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Around 100 trans people enjoying a picnic in a Bristol park were subjected to a random attack by ‘two young teens’ with a BB gun, which police are treating as a hate crime.
The group were in Castle Park for the organised event as part of Pride Bristol week when they were ‘sprayed’ with orange-coloured plastic pellets from the gun yesterday afternoon (July 2). The event was organised by Kaz Self of Trans Pride South West who said the group were enjoying themselves on picnic blankets in the sun when the attack happened.
She said: “I first noticed it when I was hit by a pellet - I thought it was hailstones but I looked to the sky and there were no clouds and then I saw more pellets. I then saw two young men in their teens shooting at people.”
Kaz says people shouted at the youths to stop but they walked towards the group.
She said: “For a moment, I was worried it was potentially going to get into a confrontation - it could have got very ugly. They shot the pellets in short bursts and around 50 were fired. Luckily, people weren’t hurt but that was probably because of the range they were shooting from.
“It was more like a sting you would get when being hit by large hailstones but you definitely knew you had been impacted.”
The two youths were chased off but escaped and Kaz says although the incident has been reported to the police, she can’t say if it will be treated as a hate crime at this stage. She added: “I can’t say for sure they were targeting our group or the trans community but we were a large group of people in the park and we had a very prominent trans flag on display.
“But it was very worrying. I had spoken to the police beforehand because I had fears over what could have happened at the event and they were well aware of it. Somebody reported it to the police but until the police have made their enquiries about what the reasons behind it were for shooting at us I can’t say categorically it was a hate crime and I can’t recall the youths shouting anything to us.
“It’s very disappointing but I had fears we might come under some sort of attack and I worry what if it’s worse next time. As the organiser, I don’t want the responsibility of inviting people to the park and then getting shot at by a BB gun or worse.
“There were families there, too, and one of my friends had two very young children there so what would have happened if one of the pellets had caught one of the kids in the eye, it could have blinded them.”
Kaz says Trans Pride South West will still meet at the Downs next Saturday as part of Pride Bristol but she’s now worried about the march during the day. She said: “With all the rhetoric that’s going on, there’s always concern from a personal point of view about the risk of attending the march if something kicked off. It just takes one nutter to do something, but then the Pride march is a protest and you have to stand up against people.”
Police confirmed they were called at around 3pm yesterday (Sunday 2 July) to reports of gel pellets being fired in the direction of an event being held in Castle Park. Officers attended and spoke with the event organisers and victims. There were no reports of any serious injuries, but police say attendees were left shaken by the incident.
Police say they are treating this incident as a hate crime and an investigation is underway. CCTV footage is being reviewed and enquiries are ongoing. Chief Inspector Stephanie McKenna said: “We take hate crime very seriously and will not tolerate it. No-one should have to put up with offences like this, or face discrimination or prejudice just for being themselves.
“We’ve made contact with the organisers of Bristol Pride to keep them updated on our investigation and we encourage anyone who has been a victim of hate crime to report it.
“As with all large events, officers will be in Bristol this weekend to keep the community safe, and if anyone has any concerns, please stop and speak to one of our officers who will be happy to help.
“We’re keen to speak to anyone who was in the area between 2.30-3pm who may have seen two men, one described as white and the other as mixed race, both in their early 20s and wearing black clothing. They were seen leaving the scene in the direction of Bristol Bridge.”
If you saw anything suspicious, or have any relevant footage which could aid our investigation, please contact 101 and quote reference 5223157339.