4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Orbeez shooters invade El Cajon

"A little nerf gun toy is not a crime!"

El Cajon police: "You've probably heard of them or seen them trending on TikTok, but you may not have thought about the dangers."
El Cajon police: "You've probably heard of them or seen them trending on TikTok, but you may not have thought about the dangers."

On the evening of April 3, Brenda B. "heard gunshots" outside of her El Cajon home.

"Then I called my mom, who lives on my street," she said. "I told her to don't go out while I rushed to my window to see."

I interviewed Brenda on April 8. She's 28 and works in the early childhood education field.

"This area makes me feel so unsafe, and every day something happens."

They load up Orbeez into their gel blaster guns and then film as they shoot random people.

I withheld her last name in this article for safety reasons, as at her house — within a mile radius of the 67 and the I-8 changeovers — she's witnessed a few scary incidents and their aftermaths. Recently, a bloodied man with a "big hammer" was pounding on her door; she noticed "guys stealing catalytic [converters] from cars, people screaming, fights, car accidents, and someone broke into my house while I wasn't home." The events would lead to the Sunday night when she "heard gunshots."

Sponsored
Sponsored

"I couldn't see anything, but I heard a man yelling as he was mad, and I got a bit scared and didn't go outside to check because you never know what could happen."

Later that night, Brenda's neighbor forewarned us on an El Cajon Facebook page we all follow. "Please be on the lookout for someone driving around shooting paintball[s] at cars. My husband's and brother's car got hit tonight, and I just wanted to share this info with you all just in case it happens to you. I already called and told the police what happened."

I reached out to Brenda's neighbor for an update, but I did not receive a reply.

Brenda continued, "At that moment, I didn't know it was paintballs .... my dad's car had a window broken, and who knows, maybe it was [also] caused by paintballs.

Days before the paintball shooting, on March 31, the El Cajon Police Department posted photos on their Instagram of an orange-colored toy gun lying on the hood of their vehicle. The caption read, "You've probably heard of them or seen them trending on TikTok, but you may not have thought about the dangers associated with them. In these viral TikTok challenges, juveniles are encouraged to shoot water beads at unsuspecting victims, such as joggers, people in stores, and vehicles on the roadway, using these splat guns. This is an incredibly dangerous prank."

"Orbeez Challenge," is one of these challenges coined by police stations around the U.S., is a social media trend that started before groms around the U.S. went on Spring Break. The kids and teenagers load up Orbeez — gelatinous-looking beads that expand when fused with water — into their gel blaster guns and then film as they shoot random people.

It's not just Orbeez being shot; Nerf foam darts and paintballs, as mentioned earlier, are dislodged from the toys. In March, people around the county were triggered as reports ran amok on neighborhood forums of different teenagers in vehicles and tweens on e-bikes, shooting soft projectiles at smaller children, "homeless" people, shoppers, parents, and a "pregnant woman." And while it may seem harmless, injured parties around the U.S. post photos of welts left by the projectiles.

Last month, El Cajon local Victoria Valdez and her 10-year-old son were shot at while taking a stroll in their neighborhood. "The gun made noise while being shot; we heard the air pressure," Valdez recounted to me on April 9. "My son said it looked like a BB [gun] AND it really scared him."

The incident occurred on Lexington Avenue and South Magnolia Avenue in front of the fire station. "I heard the gun go off several times, but only my son saw the car and the driver who did it. Who does that to a kid?"

But some East County dwellers aren't taking the victims of toy-gun pranks seriously, as one alleged prankster was photographed holding up what appeared to be a Nerf gun mocking the disgruntled photographer who was just shot at. And then, a grandmother commented on Facebook, "A little nerf gun toy is not a crime!"

Then an Instagrammer questioned the El Cajon Police Department, stating, "the gel balls explode upon impact, and they don't leave a mark, so there would need to be additional proof." The police department refuted the post, stating, "It would be an assault on a person if one shot an individual with a gel bead. Regardless of a mark being left."

Besides facing criminal charges or blinding someone, the El Cajon Police Department adds that "these juveniles run the risk of a citizen or a law enforcement officer mistaking it for a real gun and defending themselves. We encourage you to talk to your friends and children to inform them of the dangers associated with engaging in this TikTok trend."

Last year, a reported filming of a robbery prank for YouTube led to Timothy Wilks's death in Nashville, Tennessee.

Wilks, a 20-year-old YouTuber, and his friend approached a group of people, including David Starnes Jr., with butcher knives as part of the prank. Starnes, 23, said to the police detectives that he was unaware of the prank and shot Wilks in self-defense, according to a February 6, 2021 statement released by the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Gonzo Report: Visiting the Acid Vault at Amplified Ale Works

A kind of Enchanted Forest meets Kid Charlemagne feel
Next Article

Polite Provisions’ Christmas Cricket: a creamy, vegan Grasshopper

“Like a peppermint patty with warm notes of coconut.”
El Cajon police: "You've probably heard of them or seen them trending on TikTok, but you may not have thought about the dangers."
El Cajon police: "You've probably heard of them or seen them trending on TikTok, but you may not have thought about the dangers."

On the evening of April 3, Brenda B. "heard gunshots" outside of her El Cajon home.

"Then I called my mom, who lives on my street," she said. "I told her to don't go out while I rushed to my window to see."

I interviewed Brenda on April 8. She's 28 and works in the early childhood education field.

"This area makes me feel so unsafe, and every day something happens."

They load up Orbeez into their gel blaster guns and then film as they shoot random people.

I withheld her last name in this article for safety reasons, as at her house — within a mile radius of the 67 and the I-8 changeovers — she's witnessed a few scary incidents and their aftermaths. Recently, a bloodied man with a "big hammer" was pounding on her door; she noticed "guys stealing catalytic [converters] from cars, people screaming, fights, car accidents, and someone broke into my house while I wasn't home." The events would lead to the Sunday night when she "heard gunshots."

Sponsored
Sponsored

"I couldn't see anything, but I heard a man yelling as he was mad, and I got a bit scared and didn't go outside to check because you never know what could happen."

Later that night, Brenda's neighbor forewarned us on an El Cajon Facebook page we all follow. "Please be on the lookout for someone driving around shooting paintball[s] at cars. My husband's and brother's car got hit tonight, and I just wanted to share this info with you all just in case it happens to you. I already called and told the police what happened."

I reached out to Brenda's neighbor for an update, but I did not receive a reply.

Brenda continued, "At that moment, I didn't know it was paintballs .... my dad's car had a window broken, and who knows, maybe it was [also] caused by paintballs.

Days before the paintball shooting, on March 31, the El Cajon Police Department posted photos on their Instagram of an orange-colored toy gun lying on the hood of their vehicle. The caption read, "You've probably heard of them or seen them trending on TikTok, but you may not have thought about the dangers associated with them. In these viral TikTok challenges, juveniles are encouraged to shoot water beads at unsuspecting victims, such as joggers, people in stores, and vehicles on the roadway, using these splat guns. This is an incredibly dangerous prank."

"Orbeez Challenge," is one of these challenges coined by police stations around the U.S., is a social media trend that started before groms around the U.S. went on Spring Break. The kids and teenagers load up Orbeez — gelatinous-looking beads that expand when fused with water — into their gel blaster guns and then film as they shoot random people.

It's not just Orbeez being shot; Nerf foam darts and paintballs, as mentioned earlier, are dislodged from the toys. In March, people around the county were triggered as reports ran amok on neighborhood forums of different teenagers in vehicles and tweens on e-bikes, shooting soft projectiles at smaller children, "homeless" people, shoppers, parents, and a "pregnant woman." And while it may seem harmless, injured parties around the U.S. post photos of welts left by the projectiles.

Last month, El Cajon local Victoria Valdez and her 10-year-old son were shot at while taking a stroll in their neighborhood. "The gun made noise while being shot; we heard the air pressure," Valdez recounted to me on April 9. "My son said it looked like a BB [gun] AND it really scared him."

The incident occurred on Lexington Avenue and South Magnolia Avenue in front of the fire station. "I heard the gun go off several times, but only my son saw the car and the driver who did it. Who does that to a kid?"

But some East County dwellers aren't taking the victims of toy-gun pranks seriously, as one alleged prankster was photographed holding up what appeared to be a Nerf gun mocking the disgruntled photographer who was just shot at. And then, a grandmother commented on Facebook, "A little nerf gun toy is not a crime!"

Then an Instagrammer questioned the El Cajon Police Department, stating, "the gel balls explode upon impact, and they don't leave a mark, so there would need to be additional proof." The police department refuted the post, stating, "It would be an assault on a person if one shot an individual with a gel bead. Regardless of a mark being left."

Besides facing criminal charges or blinding someone, the El Cajon Police Department adds that "these juveniles run the risk of a citizen or a law enforcement officer mistaking it for a real gun and defending themselves. We encourage you to talk to your friends and children to inform them of the dangers associated with engaging in this TikTok trend."

Last year, a reported filming of a robbery prank for YouTube led to Timothy Wilks's death in Nashville, Tennessee.

Wilks, a 20-year-old YouTuber, and his friend approached a group of people, including David Starnes Jr., with butcher knives as part of the prank. Starnes, 23, said to the police detectives that he was unaware of the prank and shot Wilks in self-defense, according to a February 6, 2021 statement released by the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Marche De Noel Winter Fair, Banksyland, Snowside Winter Festival

Events December 9-December 10, 2022
Next Article

San Diego guys reflect on their dark skin

Editor's picks of stories Robert Kumpel wrote for the Reader
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close