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Ottawa police suspect TikTok challenge behind group of people shooting gel balls from vehicle

Red and blue lights atop an Ottawa police vehicle are seen in this undated file photo. Red and blue lights atop an Ottawa police vehicle are seen in this undated file photo.

Ottawa police say several people were charged this weekend after callers reported a group driving around the ByWard Market shooting a gel ball gun.

Police said it happened just after midnight Saturday in the Clarence Street area. The pellets had reportedly struck some people, but police said no one was hurt.

The suspect vehicle was found and police seized a gel ball blaster and several gel balls. The people in the car were given several provincial offence notices, according to police.

"The vehicle occupants appeared to be doing a TikTok challenge," Ottawa police said on social media.

Police in several jurisdictions have occasionally warned their communities about the so-called "Orbeez challenge" on TikTok, which involves firing the toy water beads from guns at unsuspecting people. 

Last year, Brockville police charged two young people with assault with a weapon after they had allegedly shot people with a gel bead gun. A similar case was reported in York Region in 2022. 

Spin Master, the Canadian company that markets Orbeez, has said in statements to U.S. media that it does not manufacture or sell guns that shoot Orbeez and that the toy beads are not intended to be used as projectiles. Toy guns that fire the beads, however, are widely available online, including from retailers like Walmart.

TikTok searches for "Orbeez challenge" are blocked, with a note saying the videos could violate the platform's community guidelines. Videos featuring the gel blasters being used recreationally are still common on the app.

Ottawa police did not identify any of the individuals involved in the incident Saturday night, but warned against using even imitation guns recklessly.

"We take very seriously any actions that threaten the safety of our community, like using a real firearm, a replica firearm or an imitation firearm to commit a crime or intimidate someone," police said. Top Stories

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