Lubbock Man Declines to Press Charges Against Teen After Being Shot in the Face
Imagine walking out of a store only to be shot in the face with a water pellet. Now, imagine that the teenage shooter tells you, "Oh my bad, I was shooting at her." A kid in Lubbock literally saw a potentially life-altering incident as a game.
TikTok has a new and terrifying trend called the "Orbeez Challenge" that encourages users to shoot soft gel Orbeez water balls at random individuals. Saturday night, Lubbock resident Greg Bruce was shot in the face with one of these beads while leaving a grocery store in South Lubbock. Bruce said was struck just above the eye.
While you may be thinking that these soft water beads can't cause any real harm, know they're being shot out of a device called a Splat Gun. This "toy" can shoot the beads at 200 feet per second.
The manufacturer explicitly specifies that eye protection should be used at all times when "playing" with these devices. However, kids are creative, and some cities have seen incidents where these "soft" beads are frozen in order to make more of an impact on the unsuspecting victims.
The #OrbeezChallenge has been slowly gaining momentum across the U.S. and police are not taking this situation lightly. They will arrest you for this action if the person is wanting to press charges. In this case, Bruce opted to offer this teen some grace and not file a police report with the Lubbock Police Department.
We spoke with Corporal Antonio Leal with the Lubbock Police Department's Public Information Unit, who confirmed that no police report was filed. Cpl. Leal described the call as a "civil disturbance". Thankfully, the department has not seen an increase in incidents involving splat guns and water beads, he told us.
"I remember being a kid. There was grace extended to me multiple times by adults," Bruce said. "I hope [the teenager] had the opportunity to realize that this could have been a lot different weekend for him and a lot different life for him had things turned out different that evening."
Bruce went on to note that he hopes that this young man will take this as an opportunity to inform others to think first before jumping on the bandwagon. I pray that he's right.
I'm urging Lubbock parents to speak with their kids about this challenge and the importance of not always following the leader. It's our responsibility to mold our kids into responsible and caring adults. While we cannot control all of their actions, we can teach them the difference between right and wrong as well as the repercussions of their actions.
Bruce reiterated this sentiment: "I hope that parents are being more observant of what their kids are doing. I hope that everybody takes more caution with their surroundings and what's going on around them because I know certainly that was the last thing I was thinking about as I was walking out with my milk."
Finally, it's also important to point out that we live in Texas. As of 2016, almost 1 million residents hold a concealed carry license. Fight or flight is real, and when placed in a situation where a gun is drawn, especially after dark, this challenge could not only harm an unsuspecting bystander but also lead to the injury or death of the person engaging in this challenge.
Please stay safe, Lubbock.