A series of shootings involving pellet guns has resulted in York police issuing a public alert about a dangerous social media trend called the Orbeez Challenge that encourages shooting strangers with water or gel beads. These beads can cause serious injury when fired from an air-powered gun, police said in a media release. In many instances, these air guns are painted to resemble real firearms. Firing gel pellet guns can cause serious injury and suspects will be charged with serious offences, including assault with a weapon.
A 14-year-old male from Vaughan faces two charges of Assault with a Weapon after allegedly firing a pellet gun on two separate instances.
On Monday, May, 2 at around 6:35 p.m., York police responded to a weapons call at a park located in the area of Sunset Ridge and Kistler Street. When officers arrived, they learned that a male youth fired a gel pellet gun at a group of youths, causing minor injuries to two victims.
On Wednesday, May 4, around 2:45 p.m., a group of students were walking on Shawbridge Boulevard when a black Jeep approached the students and a male suspect from inside the vehicle fired a gel pellet gun at the students, causing one victim to be hit in the head, causing minor injuries.
Through the investigation, officers identified the suspect and he was arrested. A search warrant was executed at the suspect’s residence along with a vehicle associated to him and investigators seized evidence in connection to the offences.
Police is warning parents and teens that since many replica firearms look identical to real guns, their response to these weapons calls are often in the position of having to make quick decisions on whether the weapon is real, a toy or a replica, which could have significant consequences.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the York Regional Police #4 District Criminal Investigations Bureau at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 7441, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-tips or leave an anonymous tip online at www.1800222tips.com.