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Multiple juveniles charged after participating in TikTok challenge, officials say

The challenge, known as the “Orbeez Challenge,” dares people to shoot at strangers, record the act, then post it on social media.
The “orbeez challenge” encourages kids to see if they can shoot a stranger with frozen gel...
The “orbeez challenge” encourages kids to see if they can shoot a stranger with frozen gel beads out of an airsoft gun.(WKYT)
Published: Mar. 30, 2022 at 12:39 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The Knox County Sheriff’s Office said multiple juveniles had been charged in separate incidents after participating in a TikTok challenge that could seriously injure someone, KCSO spokesperson Kimberly Glenn told WVLT News.

The challenge, known as the “Orbeez Challenge,” dares people to shoot at strangers, record the act, then post it on social media.

The first incident occurred on Jan. 31, when KCSO officials responded to an assault. The victim reportedly walked home from Powell Middle School when a silver BMW approached. The victim was shot in the forehead and chest. A 17-year-old was identified and charged with assault, Glenn said. As a result, the juvenile was sent through the Knox County Juvenile Court Pretrial Diversion program. They were also required to pay court costs and medical expenses and complete 32 hours of community services.

The second incident happened on March 14 when a victim said she was walking to the Exxon on Emory Road and Tazewell Pike from Gibbs Middle School. A white sedan occupied by two males drove past and reportedly shot her with what she believed to be an airsoft pistol. The two juveniles, ages 15 and 16, were charged with assault. The case will be heard in court on April 14.

On March 23, a complainant told KCSO officials that her son had been shot by an airsoft gun on his walk home from Gibbs Middle School. He was reportedly struck in the forehead above his left eye. Two juveniles were identified and charged with assault stemming from the incident.

Glenn said that since the victims suffered minor injuries, all the charges were simple assaults; however, other charges would be filed if serious injuries occurred.

The sheriff’s office encouraged parents to talk with their kids about the challenge.

“KCSO advises parents to talk with their kids and let them know that these shootings are crimes and they could face criminal charges,” Glenn told WVLT News. “In addition, these kids and their parents could have to pay for someone’s medical expenses or property damage if they cause it.”

Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen said participating in the challenge could lead to serious charges or worse.

“When you take a gun, even if it’s a toy gun, and point it at someone and shoot a projectile at them if that projectile injures them or hurts them and causes physical pain, that is an assault. You never know if the person you’re shooting at could have a real gun and turn that real gun on you once you shoot that real gun first. So that would be significantly worse than a criminal charge. (You) actually ending up dead because someone is shooting back at you.” shared Allen.

Her message to those wanting to do the challenge was simply don’t do it and to use common sense.

Just last month, the University of Tennessee dealt with a similar situation where students told police officers they were being shot by airsoft or Orbeez pistols from a moving vehicle. Kentucky communities also saw an uptick in the challenge.

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