FARMINGTON, N.M. (KRQE) – Police are warning the public about kids altering gel pellet guns to look real. They say it’s part of a TikTok trend that could get someone hurt.

It is known as the Splat-R-Ball, or ‘Orbeez challenge’. The trend uses air-soft weapons with water-based pellets as ammunition. The Farmington Police Department says these weapons are a growing problem after they’ve received numerous reports of kids altering the weapons and shooting them at the public.

“We have multiple calls for service related to these ‘splat-r-ball’ guns, orbeez, gel blasters they are known by different names,” said Farmington Police Lt. Richard Gibbons.


Story continues below


Within the past week alone FPD has documented at least three separate incidents where kids have been targeting and shooting random people with the guns. Lt. Gibbons says in one case if it weren’t for officers’ knowledge about the guns the situation could have turned much worse. “We did have one incident where one of the gel blaster guns was painted to look realistic. It was painted black which caused concerns from citizens to call in. It was called in as an armed subject call so when officers hear that, they are responding to somebody they believe is armed with a handgun,” said Gibbons.

Parents who are just learning about the trend say they will think twice before allowing their kids to play with them. “I’m definitely not going to get that gun for my son, but I will let him know if he sees anything around just to let us know even though it might look dangerous or it might now just to keep an eye out,” said Alfred Martinez.

Although these aren’t real guns, Gibbons says shooting someone with them could lead to real assault charges. “One of them is listed as a battery because someone was struck by them and they can leave injuries.”

FPD says the department understands kids will be kids, but they hope their message to parents helps keep the community safe. “We are asking people not to alter their guns, it’s obviously painted white and orange. it’s like that for a reason,” said Gibbons.