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Sheriff warns of new TikTok trend involving pellet guns

On Friday, someone in a passing car fired what appeared to be an airsoft gun at a student outside Righetti H.S.
Posted at 6:47 PM, Mar 21, 2022

Authorities say that a dangerous new TikTok trend has made its way to northern Santa Barbara County.

On Friday, someone in a passing car reportedly fired what appeared to be an airsoft gun at a student, striking him several times right in front of Righetti High School.

"He had just hit the walk button to go cross the street, a car with three other teenagers in it stopped at the light, pulled out what seemed to be an airsoft pellet gun, pointed it at him and shot," said Hannah Luke, mother of the boy who was hit. "He was hit about seven times, once in the temple. He witnessed other kids being shot at. I guess they drove around Righetti twice."

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office says this is part of a new TikTok challenge that involves shooting at people with airsoft, pellet, or other toy guns.

Sheriff's officials are now warning of serious consequences for people who take part in this challenge.

"If you shoot at somebody and strike them, it's considered a misdemeanor battery," said Commander Erik Raney with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office North County Operations Division. "If you cause any injury like we saw in Lompoc where we had a juvenile that had a laceration that actually required stitches, that could be considered a felony if it causes serious bodily injury. You really could do someone serious harm if you shoot them in the eye or injure them significantly, so it's not just fun and games."

An Orcutt mother is now hoping that this doesn't escalate to further violence.

"To the kids, it's not funny and my worst fear is somebody in the community is not gonna think it's funny and they're gonna have a real weapon and they're gonna have retaliation," said Luke.

In a statement, the Santa Maria Joint Union School District said it is cooperating with the sheriff's office in this investigation.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office says that these trends tend to start on the east coast and eventually land here on the west coast.