Carbondale juveniles detained for shooting gel beads at students, others around town
Two juveniles were detained Thursday in Carbondale, and police across the country are apparently on alert for students acting out on a new social media challenge to shoot people with non-lethal gel beads.
Carbondale Police said they received a report around 11:24 a.m. Thursday of juveniles allegedly shooting the water-filled pellets, called Orbeez, at several middle school-aged students at Miners Park.
“The students from the park had minor injuries and were treated by their teacher; further medical attention was not needed,” according to a news release from Carbondale Police Chief Kirk Wilson.
He said police officers were advised by the victims that the juvenile suspects were in a black pickup truck. Officers then received another call of a silver sedan with juveniles inside shooting Orbeez beads at people in the downtown area.
Officers located the vehicles matching the descriptions at Roaring Fork High School, and asked that the school place a “hold” on students, teachers and staff until the juvenile suspects could be identified and escorted to the front office, Wilson said.
The juveniles were detained and could face criminal charges including menacing and assault, he said.
Wilson said he heard other area police agencies have had similar reports of people shooting Orbeez beads at people, including in Glenwood Springs.
He said that, during the investigation, his department was made aware of a TikTok challenge (#orbeezchallenge) where players are challenged to shoot the gel beads at people. He said the beads can be easily obtained at big-box stores.
“We encourage parents to talk to their kids about the level of severity of improperly using any weapon,” Wilson said.
In the wake of the deadly school shooting Tuesday in Uvalde, Texas, and other recent incidences elsewhere locally and around the country, the gel-bean challenge is inappropriate, Wilson said.
“In talking with some of the victims here, they are outraged, angry, upset and bothered by this,“ he said. “We take the safety of our community, including schools, very seriously, especially after the tragic school shooting in Texas earlier this week.”
Wilson added that there is no immediate threat to the community, and the juveniles are currently being detained, pending charges. The case remains under investigation, he said.
Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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