Police have again warned users against attempting the viral TikTok Orbeez challenge after six people were shot with gel pellets in St. Petersburg, Florida.
There have been a number of dangerous challenges to go viral on TikTok over the years, such as the fractal wood burning trend and the fire mirror challenge, many of which have prompted experts to warn users against trying them.
Earlier in 2022, a new trend called the Orbeez challenge emerged, which saw people launching the absorbent pellets at strangers. Police warned users not to try the trend due to the possibility of serious injury.
Now, several incidents in St. Petersburg have reignited concerns about the challenge, after six people were reportedly shot by gel pellets in what is suspected to have been multiple attempts at the Orbeez challenge.
Orbeez have featured in various viral trends across social media.
One individual, Mike Schuman, was shot in the eye, and told Fox13 that he was hanging outside a bar with friends when a black Nissan pulled up and started firing the pellets. Police reportedly say that this is one of at least six cases they are investigating, though so far no arrests have been made.
“It just kept getting foggier like I could see lights through it but by the time I got checked into the hospital, I couldn’t see the other two people in the room,” Schuman said.
He went on to add: “That’s not how I planned for my Saturday night to end up, five hours in the ER with a hefty bill to boot.”
St. Petersburg Police Department spokesperson Ashley Limardo warned those thinking of trying the trend: “It may seem funny, but it’s not that funny when you could put someone’s life at risk.”
In May, two Florida teens were arrested after they injured a woman following their attempt at the Orbeez challenge.