Police in Northport are investigating at least two incidents involving paintball guns Friday morning and suspect high school football rivalries may be at the heart of the matter.

Keith Carpenter, the assistant chief of the Northport Police Department, said officers were called to the Northport Chick-fil-A on McFarland Boulevard and the Winn Dixie off Rose Boulevard and Highway 43 Friday morning.

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At both locations, individuals armed with paintball guns reportedly shot at other vehicles.

Chief Carpenter said the investigation is still in its early phases, but added that police suspect high school rivalries may have been at play.

"In the part of town, anything like this that happens on a Friday morning usually involves rival schools," Carpenter said.

Ashley Gill, the owner and operator of the Chick-fil-A in question, said there was no major damage to the recently remodeled and just reopened store, except a ton of paint in their brand-new parking lot.

"This was just a case of kids being kids, but I also don't want guns of any kind being shot on my property, whether that's paintball or airsoft or NERF guns," Gill said.

She said the parties responsible were students at area high schools who make a tradition of eating breakfast at Chick-fil-A every Friday in the fall but stopped short of identifying those schools.

"These kids come and eat every football Friday and we really do love it when they come, we love being part of that," Gill said. "Even so, we want all our guests to feel safe and secure when they are spending their time with us."

Gill said she is not planning to pursue criminal charges over the morning mischief, but said she expects the parties responsible for the paint in her parking lot to come pressure wash it clean -- and soon.

She said she has also been in touch with Northport Police and with leadership at one of the schools involved and they are working on a plan to deter similar incidents in the future, including by upping police presence in the area every Friday morning.

For more details if and when they become available, stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread.

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