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Water pellet assaults in Westminster

Social media challenge results in juvenile charges
Westminster Police.jpeg
Posted at 4:03 PM, May 09, 2022

WESTMINSTER, Md. — The Orbeez Challenge draws its name from water-filled gel pellets, which loaded into airsoft guns, quickly become ammunition that can do some damage.

Police in Westminster knew of this recent phenomenon when it popped up on their streets last week, and they charged a pair of juveniles with assault.

“We got called last week about somebody shooting water pellets,” said Capt. Jeffrey Schuster of the Westminster Police Department. “Actually, a person was struck some out in the Greens in this area and also on Pennsylvania Avenue/West Main Street. The next day they returned and they were subsequently stopped.”

Reports of the alleged assaults raised the alarm of residents who thought the water-pellet, gun-toting teens may have struck in their neighborhood.

READ MORE: Multiple incidents of Orbeez social-media shooting challenge reported in northern VA

One resident just off Uniontown Road reported seeing someone jump out of a car with what appeared to be a gun in the same general area where someone armed with the pellets had struck.

Ironically, this parent tells us that some Westminster High School students had a very different competition of their own going on in recent weeks, with more than a hundred willing participants.

“It’s a senior thing,” said Steve Potorti whose son was among the finalists, “It’s four on four water wars. It goes week to week. Basically, they have to eliminate their other team and videotape it.”

Police showed up on Firestone Road only to find out these water warriors were only using squirt guns and spray bottles.

“There were a couple of cars driving up and down. They weren’t speeding up the road, but there was a lot of activity on my road for that period of time, but I understand,” said Potorti, “The cops, they were right to stop the kids, but at the end of the day, nobody was doing anything wrong so they weren’t punished or anything.”

READ MORE: Frederick Sheriff warns of latest TikTok gun challenge exposing students to potential violence