90.7 WMFE and 89.5 WMFV are Central Florida's primary provider of NPR programming and Classical Music. Part of the community since 1965, providing quality national and local news and programming. We inspire and empower all Central Floridians to discover, grow and engage within and beyond their world.
Support for 90.7 WMFE is provided by

Central Florida police agencies warn against shooting people with Orbeez from toy guns

The Volusia County Sheriff's Office and Ocala Police Department released these images of gel guns used to shoot Orbeez or simillar water or gel beads.


Law enforcement agencies in Ocala and Volusia County are warning people against shooting others with toy water beads called Orbeez as part of a TikTok challenge.

And Ocala police are asking parents to talk with their kids about the dangers of the challenge.

If you put Spin Master’s Orbeez in water, they become plump, squishy beads. And the company invites kids to do all sorts of fun things with them.

But the challenge takes a bad turn when people load them into toy guns and start shooting at strangers.

Ocala Police Department Capt. Michael Sommer says they’ve had at least four incidents recently.

“And the concern is — obviously, first and foremost — is injuries,” he said. “And secondly, there can be criminal nature to this, depending on the circumstances, and people could get arrested. “

That’s the case in Volusia County, where three teens have been charged after random shootings.

Ocala police say somtimes the toy guns resemble real firearms.

“The fear is they will encounter either the wrong person who, say, possesses a legal gun, a concealed weapons carrier or something like that, or even law enforcement in a situation and something goes tragically wrong for what they think is a joke,” Sommer said.

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office says the shooting incidents with toy guns and gel beads have occurred elsewhere in the country and around Florida. They include a drive-by Orbeez shooting in Orange Park of a woman pushing a child in a stroller.

Children’s product safety is paramount, Spin Master said in an email. “Spin Master does not manufacture or sell gel guns. Orbeez are designed for educational, creative, and sensory play and are not intended to be used as projectiles or inserted in mechanisms.”

 

 


Get The 90.7 WMFE Newsletter

Your trusted news source for the latest Central Florida news, updates on special programs and more.

GET THE LATEST
Stay tuned in to our local news coverage: Listen to 90.7 WMFE on your FM or HD radio, the WMFE mobile app or your smart speaker — say “Alexa, play NPR” and you’ll be connected.

WMFE Journalistic Ethics Code | Public Media Code of Integrity

Joe Byrnes

About Joe Byrnes

Reporter

Joe Byrnes reports on aging-related issues for WMFE/WMFV. Please contact him at jbyrnes@wmfe.org. He came to WMFE from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after ... Read Full Bio »

TOP