FREDERICK, Md. (WJZ) — A disturbing national trend has made its way to Maryland. The Frederick County Sheriff’s office is now warning of a violent TikTok trend called the “Orbeez splat gun challenge.”

The challenge urges people to use toy guns to carry out random shootings on unsuspecting bystanders. The toy guns are filled with Orbeez, water gel beads marketed to children, as ammunition.

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While the ammo can’t cause serious injury, it’s enough to sting and cause panic.

Doug Kinsey’s two teenage sons were playing basketball in their driveway in Frederick County when a car pulled up and began shooting gel pellets.

“They rolled down the window the driver said ‘shoot ‘em,'” Kinsey said. “Hit one of my sons in the cheek and then the driver said ‘hit the other one’ and so they shot at my other son and hit him in the shoulder.”

The Frederick County Sheriff’s office said the challenge has been carried out in their area five times now. In one instance, someone rolled down the window of their car and shot their splat gun at another person walking down the street, like in a drive-by shooting. The Orbeez sometimes explode on impact.

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“You can only imagine the fear it could cause somebody one seeing a gun, scaring them they don’t know what’s going on, they don’t know what substance just got on their skin,” said Lt. Jason Deater of the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office.

Officials are trying to educate parents who might not know this challenge exists at all.

“We’re trying to get ahead of this,” Deater said. “Put this information out there, A warning for the community, parents, to watch their children.”

“I was like wow one more dumb thing that is out there for our children to get involved in except this one is really dangerous right? someone could really get hurt!”said Frederick County mother Shirley Technie-Mensah upon hearing about the challenge. “I can’t even think about what else TikTok is going to get our stupid children to do–and I’m saying stupid–because some of this is really stupid, and I don’t understand, I don’t get it.”

The sheriff’s office said these shootings can come along with serious charges like second-degree assault, something that might make people think twice before attempting the challenge.

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Annie Rose Ramos