Over the last several weeks the Dearborn Police Department has responded to numerous incidents of pedestrians and bystanders being shot at random and sometimes injured using gel blaster toy guns. These cases have been associated with a social media trend on TikTok—a short-form video sharing app—known as the “Orbeez Challenge.”
As part of the trend, young users film themselves loading Orbeez balls, which are water-absorbent polymer beads, into gel blaster guns, and driving by and shooting people at random. The projectile beads are capable of causing injuries, potentially severe, in sensitive areas of the body.
The Dearborn Police Department has arrested a teenage Dearborn resident, who is now facing assault charges, in connection with the trend. The individual’s identity is being withheld pending arraignment in the 19th District Court.
Dearborn Police Chief Issa Shahin stated, “Once again we find ourselves dealing with a dangerous trend on social media that has influenced our young people to make dangerous choices that can have lifetime consequences. I encourage parents to talk to their kids about what they see on social media and to pay attention to the next inevitable dangerous trend that is sure to arise. The Dearborn Police Department will have a zero-tolerance approach to activities such as this that pose danger to the public.”