IRVING, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Local police departments are warning parents and teens about the potential dangers of the latest viral social media trend that is gaining traction on TikTok.
The trend involves people between the ages of 15 and 21 using pellet guns to shoot each other with gel, plastic or metal beads. Police said it’s meant to be a game, but warn things could change quickly. They are concerned that someone might think these toy guns are real and return fire.
“Just because you see something on TikTok or a social media trend, don’t think that means it’s okay and you should get involved and do it,” Irving police public information officer Robert Reeves said. “There are a lot of things shared on social networks that are illegal, which can get you in a lot of trouble”
Irving police said they have already responded to a dozen incidents related to this trend.
“We became aware through the schools and in our patrol division that we were beginning to respond to calls involving people being randomly shot or being shot by someone they knew,” Reeves said.
Some of these incidents took place in schools and public places. “It is illegal to possess all of this on school campuses. Air guns and BB guns are illegal in the city of Irving for anyone under the age of 18,” Reeves said.
Police said these guns may look fake, but they fire at high speeds and can cause serious injury. In Irving, two people have been seriously injured so far.
“Some of these things have become very serious. You know, shooting someone with that is assault. If he has a serious injury, you’re looking at an aggravated assault charge, which is a felony,” Reeves said.
Irving isn’t the only police department seeing this. Several other local police departments have seen people playing the game. Some believe there could be an influx of calls as summer approaches.
Police are offering advice to parents. “If your son lives with you, he should definitely be involved enough to know what’s going on,” Reeves said. “If they have their own car, you’re still the parent. You can go out there and make sure. Have these conversations.”