Peachtree City teens arrested for dangerous 'Orbeez challenge'
PEACHTREE CITY, Ga. - Two 14-year-olds have been charged by Peachtree City police in a "splatter ball" attack on children at a park this past weekend. A mother of one of those teens is also in trouble.
Police said the teens were taking part in the dangerous Orbeez challenge that has gone viral on TikTok.
Peachtree City police say surveillance cameras helped to lead them to the teens behind a splatter ball attack. (FOX 5)
It happened at Battery Way Park along the shores of Lake Peachtree in Peachtree City. Police said surveillance cameras caught the incident on video.
"We were able to use camera footage in the area to get a still image of a golf cart with the suspected offenders on it," said Peachtree City Police Cpl. Donte Phillips.
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.
Peachtree City police say the child was shot by teenagers with Orbeez on the city's cart path. (Peachtree City Police Department)
Police said the two young victims, ages 8 and 10, suffered injuries from frozen pellets the teens shot at them.
Those two teens were on the golf cart and now face charges.
"One juvenile is charged with aggravated assault and the other is charged with aggravated assault party to a crime," said Cpl. Phillips, adding that those are stiff charges, both felonies.
The mother of one of the teens is charged with allowing her 14-year-old to drive the golf cart. The law states golf cart drivers in Peachtree City must be 15 with a permit.
Police said the use of splat ball guns to fire Orbeez at people has "gotten out of hand." They hope this arrest sends a strong message. Cpl. Phillips said the departments now has zero tolerance for the act.
Officers were also out on Thursday making sure golf cart drivers were the right age.
Peachtree City police were out checking the age of golf cart drivers on March 17, 2022. (FOX 5)
The names of the teens and the mother were not released.
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.
How dangerous is the Orbeez challenge?
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.