Florida and Georgia police are seeing incidents arise in relation to a new social media stunt, the ‘Orbeez challenge’, and are advising residents to beware of the trend, which ‘could cause injury’.
While the challenge features TikTokers playing with the little gel balls known as Orbeez, other clips show users shooting the balls at friends – and strangers – with fake guns. Fernandina Beach police said, according to NPR, the toy “could cause injury if it strikes a person at high speed or in a sensitive area such as the eyes. This ‘trend’ also has the potential to induce fear or panic as some of these gel guns can be mistaken for a real firearm.
“The safety of children’s products is paramount at Spin Master, and we are committed to providing children and their families with the highest quality toys, games and activities,” manufacturer Spin Master said in a statement. “[We do] does not manufacture or sell gel guns. Orbeez are designed for educational, creative and sensory play and are not intended to be used as projectiles or inserted into mechanisms.
A few legal troubles have erupted in response to the viral trend, including in Deltona, Florida, where a 19-year-old was arrested for shooting an Amazon delivery driver with the bullets while driving, as well as a another adult and a 10 -Age. The teen has been charged with shooting into an occupied vehicle, child abuse and two counts of assault and battery, according to the Volusia County Sheriff.
Two other people on the same day were hit by bullets fired from a van; one was a man trimming trees who ended up with red welts. An 18-year-old and two 17-year-olds were charged with battery.
In Peachtree City, Georgia, a child on a bicycle was shot by bullets and left with a bloody face after teenagers modified the bullets to be more dangerous, authorities say. The Peachtree City Police Department said it prosecutes people who shoot other people and that those actions “could result in felony charges and parents could also be held responsible for the actions of their children.” “.