Chula Vista Police said nine people have been attacked in what appears to be the latest social media challenge.
“It’s very stupid. This could have very tragic consequences,” warned CVPD Lt. Dan Peak.
He said they’ve received nine reports in the last year of Chula Vista residents being shot in a drive-by-style attack involving airsoft guns or toy guns that fire Orbeez balls. Orbeez are small colorful plastic pellets that expand when placed in water.
“It’s considered assault with a deadly weapon. So, these juveniles may think they’re doing a prank, the next thing you know they’re going to be in Juvenile Hall,” explained Peak.
Get San Diego local news, weather forecasts, sports and lifestyle stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC San Diego newsletters.
“It was a very cowardly act,” said a Chula Vista man who asked to be identified as “Bogey”.
“Kids shouldn’t be going around pretending they’re doing drive-by shootings of people,” added Bogey.
The man said he and his wife were shot last Sunday near Eastlake by a group of teenagers or young men in a four-door car.
“Stops right next to us. We look. Instinctively as we start getting hit with something in the face and our body, we covered our face,” described Bogey with his hands over his face. “The fact that kids are doing this and thinking this is funny; it’s not a joke and there’s going to be consequences.”
Lt. Peak said the attacks appeared to be the latest challenge issued on social media platforms. He said CVPD has also received 41 calls in the last year from people witnessing similar attacks.
“There’s a lot of proud protective Momma Bears out there in Eastlake who, when they get you, you’re going to wish the police got you first,” warned Bogey. “If they’re old enough to drive and do this in cars, they’re old enough to comprehend this is not a joke and this is not okay.”
Peak asked parents to be vigilant with their children if they own an airsoft gun that fires Orbeez.
“Ask them what they’re going to use that for,” he said. “Make sure they don’t take it out with them when they’re out with their friends.”