Peachtree City boy injured by teens participating in 'Orbeez challenge,' police say
PEACHTREE CITY, Ga. - Peachtree City police are warning parents about a dangerous trend their teenager may be taking part in which could lead to charges.
In a social media post, the Peachtree City Police Department said the use of splat ball guns to fire Orbeez at people has "gotten out of hand."
Peachtree City police say the child was shot by teenagers with Orbeez on the city's cart path. (Peachtree City Police Department)
The small water pellets can be very painful and cause permanent injury, and officials say teenagers are modifying the beads to be more painful when they fire them at innocent bystanders.
In one case, a young boy was riding his bicycle on a cart path in the city when a group of teen rode by and shot him in the face.
Officials say they will be pursuing criminal charges on anyone firing the weapons at other people - or just firing them at all - on city property. In some cases, police say it could result in felony charges and parents could be liable.
TEENS FACING CHARGES AFTER FIRING GEL PELLETS AT STUDENTS, FACULTY
The Peachtree City Police Department's warning comes days after two brothers in LaGrange were charged with reckless conduct and simple battery for allegedly shooting people in the head with water beads at a tennis pro shop. The two boys' mother is also charged with parental responsibility to supervise.
POLICE WARN PARENTS OF DANGEROUS SOCIAL MEDIA TREND
What is the Orbeez challenge?
The official Orbeez website uses #OrbeezChallenge to market the water beads.
"Inspired by TikTok’s #OrbeezChallenge, kids can easily recreate similar effects they see online!" a press release says.
It doesn't appear the product is meant to be shot from an air-powered gun. The website says the toy is for ages 5-and-up.
Police in cities throughout the U.S. have seen a rise in shootings involving the water pellets.
Police in Arizona said they have answered multiple calls of people shot with water beads.
"There is an indication that this incident could be related to a national social media challenge where the Orbeez water pellets are shot in a "drive-by" method," police said in a statement.
Sandy Springs police reported a similar pellet gun shooting in February, though police did not confirm if the teens arrested were firing Orbeez pellets or if they were participating in the "challenge." A victim said, since he posted about what happened to him on social media, he has heard from a dozen other people who have had the same experience.
Is the Orbeez challenge dangerous?
LaGrange police explained the potentially deadly confusion that can occur if cops mistake a painted toy gun for a fake one.
Police in Chula Vista, California, explained most of the incidents they've seen have resulted in minor injuries from Orbeez, but it's possible and ill-placed shot could cause greater harm to an unsuspecting person.