BELMONT, Calif. - The San Mateo County Sheriff's Department says a dangerous social media challenge involving a popular toy gun is happening throughout the county.
Over the last few weeks they’ve received reports of random people being shot with gel pellets while recording the attacks on video.
Gel pellet guns called Orbeez are being used to shoot innocent people.
Although no one has been seriously hurt, law enforcement says they want people to be on the lookout, so they can put a stop to this social media challenge.
It isn’t a new trend, but the sheriffs' office says it’s now happening in San Mateo County.
"You’re walking down the street, whether you’re by yourself or with other people, and someone comes up and shoots you. You don’t know if it’s a gun, a water gun or the Orbeez guns nowadays.
"All you feel is that pain. It’s just very sad and as a person on the other side of that, I can only imagine how frightening that must be," said Sabrina Davis of San Carlos.
The sheriffs' office says groups of teenagers drive up beside people as they walk, shoots at them with gel pellets that are sometimes frozen, and then take off.
"When people participate, not only are they attacking people with these Orbeez guns, they’re also recording it. They’re posting it on social media. I guess it brings joy to them or makes them laugh. I don’t know. However, that being said, it’s a very dangerous thing to do," said Sgt. Javier Acosta.
Acosta said they’ve received a half dozen calls in the last few weeks about Orbeez gun attacks throughout the county.
Orbeez is a popular gel pellet gun and is supposed to be used for fun.
"They’re just one step below paintballs. I’m very familiar with paintballs and they can damage vehicles, damage property, damage people if shot in the wrong way. I don’t believe kids should have them. There should be an age limit," said Stephanie Hanson, of Belmont.
Shooting at people, animals or cars publicly and trying to go viral on social media.
"It’s a toy. A toy is a toy until it’s used to victimize others and then law enforcement gets involved. We ask that parents check in on your children and make sure they’re children aren’t participating in the dangerous trend," Acosta said.
Shooting a pellet gun with negligence is against the law in California, and could result in a felony charge or up to a year behind bars if a person is injured.
Acosta also said people shouldn’t try and record this or get involved if they see someone using the toy gun to shoot at people. If you see it or if it happens to you, immediately call police and make a report.