DRAPER, Utah — A group of juveniles were threatened with a gun and hit in the head multiple times after shooting gel balls at random people in a Draper shopping center parking lot.
The Draper Police Department reports the incident is one of many that has happened in the city involving gel guns, and they suspect the incidents tie back to a new social media challenge on TikTok.
On March 4, a group of juveniles were shooting gel balls at people in the Draper Peaks parking lot, located at 201 East 12300 South.
After blocking the juveniles in with two vehicles, a man pointed a handgun at one of the juvenile's heads and demanded the gel gun be handed over. A woman also punched one of the juveniles "repeatedly in the head," Draper police report.
Eventually, the juveniles handed over the gel gun. The man put his handgun away and the woman damaged the juvenile's car with the gel gun.
Draper police say the man and woman involved have not been identified and officers haven't been able to locate any surveillance video of the incident.
This isn't the only incident in the city involving gel guns this month. Police believe all of the occurrences tie back to a new social media challenge on TikTok called the "Orbeez Challenge" and warn that consequences can be very dangerous.
Police also report that on March 15, two other incidents with gel guns occurred. In one of the instances, two male suspects wearing masks entered a local restaurant called "OAK Wood Fire Kitchen" and started shooting people in the restaurant with a gel gun. People in the restaurant initially believed the suspects had real guns, but quickly realized they were gel guns.
The next day, a woman reported she was walking her dogs at the Orson Smith Trailhead and believed she was shot by juveniles with a pellet gun. The juveniles were located and referred to court for their involvement in the incident, Draper police report. Upon further investigation, it was discovered they were using a gel gun.
Later that same night, a man was shot with a gel gun in a grocery store parking lot.
"When these incidents occur, they often frighten innocent people and could provoke a violent response by an unsuspecting victim," police said in a press release.
Draper officials are calling on parents to warn their kids about the danger of these challenges and warns that suspects will be held accountable.
"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."