New TikTok trend has led to arrests, Fla. cops warn

The "Orbeez Challenge" encourages participants to use airsoft guns to shoot water beads at strangers

By Joe Mario Pedersen
Orlando Sentinel

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — Central Florida police are warning young area residents how the trending “Orbeez Challenge” might earn you some views, but it could also earn you some jail time.

Recently, the Orbeez Challenge began trending on TikTok and features participants using air-powered guns to fire “Orbeez” water beads at strangers. Local authorities have said they’ve seen an uptick in the trend.

Voluisa County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested 19-year-old Sean McMullen, of Enterprise, on Mar. 9 and suspect him of shooting an Amazon delivery driver in Deltona, hitting him in his glasses and his neck while he was driving his route. The same suspect also shot another adult and a 10-year-old child in the face and chest, VCSO said.

“Be aware that these shootings are crimes, and when you’re identified you may face criminal charges for your part in the challenge,” VCSO said.

McMullen faces several charges including shooting into an occupied vehicle, child abuse, and 2 counts of battery, according to Volusia County Jail records.

On Mar. 10, VCSO arrested 18-year-old Diego Medina Vega and two 17-year-olds after receiving reports two Deltona residents being hit by pellets fired from a van that took off after the shooting. Another Deltona man described being hit while trimming trees outside his home.

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Deputies found the van and arrested the teenagers, who each face a charge of battery, VCSO said. Vega was additionally charged with two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Ocala police also reported residents getting shot by the same type of guns and warned participants against doing it.

“These beads can cause serious injury when fired from an air-powered gun. In many instances, these air guns are painted to resemble real functioning firearms,” OPD said. “Recently, we’ve responded to several incidents where people were shot by these types of air guns. We encourage parents to discuss the dangers of this type of activity with their children.”

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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