Draper police taking ‘zero tolerance stance’ on gel ball TikTok challenge

Draper Police car. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Monico Garza/SLCScanner

DRAPER, Utah, March 17, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — Draper police say they aren’t amused by a recent social media prank that involves shooting unsuspecting people with gel balls.

The popularity of the so-called “Orbeez Challenge” on TikTok has led to several incidents of people being shot with gel balls from a gel-ball gun or an airsoft gun in Draper, police said.

“In an effort to keep everyone safe, we are taking a zero tolerance stance on these type of incidents and will hold suspects accountable for their unlawful behavior,” Draper police said in a news release Thursday.

Police said there have been several incidents in the past two weeks involving juveniles shooting unsuspecting people with gel balls.

When these incidents occur, they often frighten innocent people and could provoke a violent response by an unsuspecting victim,” the release states.

On March 4, a group of juveniles were driving around in the Draper Peaks parking lot and shooting gel balls at random people, police said. Motorists in two vehicles blocked the juveniles’ vehicle, and a man pointed a handgun at a juvenile’s head while demanding he hand over the gel gun, according to the news release.

A woman then started to to punch one of the juveniles repeatedly in the head, the release states. The man put away his gun after the juvenile surrendered the gel gun, police said. The woman then hit and damaged the juveniles’ car with the gel gun, according to the news release.

Two gel-gun incidents were reported Tuesday, including one at the Oak Wood Fire Kitchen at 715 E. 12300 South, where two men wearing airsoft-style masks entered the through the back door and surprised people inside the restaurant.

Luckily, once the suspects started shooting people, (people in the restaurant) quickly realized they were not real guns,” the news release states. “Prior to being shot with the gel balls, the witnesses believed the suspects had real guns.”

On Wednesday, a woman walking her dogs near the Orson Smith Trailhead told police she believed she was being shot at by juveniles with a pellet gun. Police later located the juveniles and determined they were using a gel gun, the news release states. Six juveniles were referred to court in connection with the incident, police said.

Later Wednesday night, police say a man was shot with a gel gun in a grocery store parking lot. 

We are asking parents to speak to their kids about the dangers of certain pranks or  challenges,” the news release states.

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