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Morgan Hill
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August 19, 2022

Juvenile arrested in alleged ‘Orbeez challenge’ shooting

Incident is third in two weeks, police say

Morgan Hill Police arrested a juvenile who shot two people with a pellet gun while taking part in the dangerous “Orbeez challenge” that has appeared on social media in recent weeks, according to authorities.

The March 17 arrest was the third such local incident in two weeks that was motivated by the online challenge, the Morgan Hill Police Department said in a press release.

About 3:48pm March 17, MHPD officers responded to the area of East Main Avenue and the Highway 101 overpass to investigate the report of two victims who had been struck by projectiles, police said. The projectiles were allegedly discharged from a passing vehicle that was traveling west on East Main Avenue.

One of the pedestrian victims was struck on the back of the head, and the other was hit on the arm, police said. Both injuries were “relatively minor in nature” and the victims did not require medical attention.

Police launched an investigation and identified the vehicle and its associated driver, according to authorities. Officers contacted the juvenile suspect at his residence and arrested him without further incident.

During a search of the youth’s vehicle, police found a “Splat-R-Ball blaster” gun in the back seat, authorities said.

The suspect was later transported to Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall on suspicion of discharging a BB device in a grossly negligent manner, says the press release.

Police have not released the suspect’s name because he is a juvenile.

In recent weeks, areas throughout the country have seen increased reports of pedestrians being shot at with gel or water based pellets, often referred to by the brand name Orbeez, police said. These incidents have likely been inspired by a social media challenge that has grown on TikTok.

The pellets can cause “painful welts” on the skin of the victim, according to the MHPD press release. If struck in the face or eyes, the pellets can cause more serious injuries.

Police released this photo of a Splat-R-Ball brand pellet gun that was allegedly used in a recent shooting incident. Photo: MHPD

According to a story published online by NPR March 17, authorities recently arrested a teen in Delton, Fla., who shot at an Amazon delivery driver and struck him in his glasses and neck while he was driving. 

Spin Master, the company that makes Orbeez, said the company “does not manufacture or sell gel guns,” according to the NPR story. 

Splat R Ball brand guns and the pellet ammunition made for them are sold by a different manufacturer. 

“The Morgan Hill Police Department will actively pursue criminal charges on anyone caught discharging projectiles from these devices,” says the March 18 press release. “The shooting described above marks the third similar incident in the past two weeks. Police are asking parents to talk with their children about the dangers and consequences of engaging in such criminal behavior.”

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information about this incident can call MHPD Det. Ryan Warren at 669.253.4894 or email [email protected]

Information can be given anonymously online by visiting https://www.morgan-hill.ca.gov/FormCenter/Police-14/Morgan-Hill-Crime-Stoppers-88, or calling 1.800.222.TIPS.

Staff Report
A staff member edited this provided article.

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