Suburban teen game raises safety concerns after close call with concealed carry holder

A game popular among suburban teenagers is raising serious safety concerns after a recent incident involving a concealed carry holder in Gurnee.

The game, known as "Senior Assassins," involves participants targeting each other with water guns while catching them off guard. However, the use of realistic-looking water guns has prompted alarm among authorities.

In the most recent incident on Tuesday, a group of high school students entered The Point Pancake House in Gurnee wearing ski masks and brandishing water guns that closely resembled real firearms. According to Detective Shawn Gaylor of the Gurnee Police Department, patrons inside the restaurant became alarmed, prompting a concealed carry holder to consider intervening to protect them. However, it was quickly discerned that the weapons were indeed water guns.

Similar incidents have been reported in other suburban areas, including St. Charles, where police responded to multiple 911 calls about teens wearing hoodies or masks while lurking around neighbors' homes.

"We couldn't tell what was in their hands, the color, but they appeared to be hiding near a vehicle, behind some landscaping and thought it was concerning obviously," said St. Charles Police Chief Jim Keegan.

While "Senior Assassins" is a long-standing tradition for many high school seniors, authorities warn that such activities could have serious consequences.

"Some of these air guns, some of these water guns. If I was a police officer and one of these were pulled and pointed at me, it would be a tough decision, especially when you've got a ten, 12, 14, 16-year-old kid there that's pointing it at you. So yeah, it's a real concern," said Jeff Craig, superintendent of West Aurora School District 129.

Participants in the game are urged to adhere to safety guidelines, including using brightly colored water guns to avoid confusion with real firearms. Failure to do so could result in disorderly conduct charges, authorities caution.

Despite the warnings, some students remain undeterred.

"I feel like it's just something that's supposed to just kind of be a lighthearted, like, fun game at the end of the year," said Molly, a suburban high school senior. "The biggest rule is just like neon water guns, because they don't want it to like, look like something it’s not," she added.