Dangerous “Shooting” Trend Comes to the Hudson Valley
"I was shot five times," begins a Beacon woman's Facebook post. "Walked outside 20 mins later and was shot at again", she continued. And she's not alone. 3 minors in Middletown were recently in police custody after a drive-by shooting of their own, with Wallkill police also investigating a related incident.
No, they're not using bullets, but injuries have been reported across the county in a rash of attacks that have been identified as a dangerous TikTok trend.
What is the Orbeez Challenge?
Orbeez are small synthetic beads that grow when you submerge them in water. From their website:
Sprinkle the [Orbeez] seeds in water, and watch them magically transform into oh-so-satisfying, gotta-have-more, squishy, squeezy, super colorful Orbeez! What can you do with your Orbeez? What CAN’T you do?
Apparently, one of the things TikTok users have discovered they can "do" is load them into pellet guns and assault unsuspecting strangers. Reports have been pouring in nationwide of the same style of attack that was experienced in both Beacon and Middletown. Florida police shared a recent arrest related to the shootings:
Attack in Beacon, NY
Luckily for the Beacon victim, she wasn't seriously hurt. "It stung a little, but wasn’t painful", she said. "Would be bad to be shot in the eye I imagine". And she's right. There have been much more dangerous attacks, including a high school student in North Carolina who was shot in the face. In Florida, a student was arrested for shooting their teacher in the same manner. It can also be dangerous for the "shooters".
"They're gonna end up shooting the wrong person who's gonna shoot back but with something real", lamented one commenter. " I just worry that someone with an actual gun will see a fake gun being pointed at them and shoot... Or that they give an elderly person a heart attack", echoed another.
Response in Middletown, NY
Amy Creeden, Superintendent of Middletown Schools, responded to the arrests of 3 school-age children in her district who allegedly participated in the trend.
Pointing a gun real or fake has real consequences, and I cannot stress enough the dangers involved when individuals decide to participate in reckless, destructive challenges
Police are urging the public to report any activity related to the Orbeez shootings.