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JUST IN: Police investigating multiple drive-by paintball and pellet gun shootings

Arlington police say they’re now investigating a series of drive-by paintball and pellet gun shootings.

The shootings are believed to have been inspired by a viral TikTok trend dubbed the “Orbeez challenge,” which has led to numerous reports from across the U.S. of injuries and arrests from people being shot with pellets, paintballs or gel-balls.

ARLnow reported yesterday that four people were struck by paintballs shot from a passing car in Crystal City on Friday. One person was hospitalized. Today Arlington police said two recent incidents of people being shot by pellet guns, fired from passing vehicles, may be tied to the social media trend.

“The Arlington County Police Department takes these incidents seriously and continues to actively investigate to identify those responsible,” said the police department.

More from an ACPD press release, below.

The Arlington County Police Department is investigating four reports of paintballs and pellets being discharged from vehicles at community members in the last week. Similar incidents have been reported in other states and appear to stem from challenges originated on social media. While the motivation behind the Arlington incidents is unknown at this time, the Arlington County Police Department takes these incidents seriously and continues to actively investigate to identify those responsible.

Reported Incidents

ASSAULT & BATTERY, 2022-03160222, S. Eads Street at 12th Street S. At approximately 6:00 p.m. on March 16, police were dispatched to the report of disorderly conduct. Upon arrival, it was determined the victim was walking in the area when the suspect vehicle approached and discharged a pellet gun, striking the victim. The suspect vehicle is described as a maroon SUV.

ASSAULT & BATTERY, 2022-03180231/0254, 1400 block of S. Eads Street/15th Street S. at S. Eads. At approximately 7:24 p.m. on March 18, police were dispatched to the report of an assault. Upon arrival, it was determined the two victims were walking in the area when the suspect vehicle approached and the passenger discharged a paintball gun striking the victims, a parked vehicle and the door to a business. At approximately 9:10 p.m., police were dispatched to the report of an assault and determined two additional victims were walking in the area when they were struck by the suspect discharging a paintball gun from the vehicle. The suspect vehicle is described as a silver, older model four door sedan.

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2022-03210246, Washington Boulevard at N. Highland Street. At approximately 4:54 p.m. on March 21, police were dispatched to the report of a person with a gun. Upon arrival, it was determined the victim was walking in the area when he was struck by pellets discharged from a vehicle. The suspect vehicle is described as a gray or light blue small SUV.

Report Information and Incidents to Police for Investigation

These remain active criminal investigations. Anyone with information related to these incidents is asked to contact the Police Department’s Tip Line at 703-228-4180 or [email protected] or anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

If you are the victim or witness of similar incidents, report immediately to police by calling the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222 or 9-1-1 in an emergency. Provide the dispatcher with as much information as possible including vehicle description, license plate, direction of travel and suspect(s) description.

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