TikTok trend may have inspired shooting in Banning, Beaumont: police

BANNING, CA – Two men and three juveniles suspected of shooting up vehicles in the Pass area may have been inspired by a viral TikTok trend, the Banning Police Department announced Monday.

Joseph Marc Anthony Gastelum, 18, and Jaden Rivir Sanchez, 20, and the three juveniles were arrested Thursday evening. The arrests came after Banning police officers went to the area of ​​Malki Road and Seminole Drive in unincorporated Cabazon around 6:30 pm that night to assist the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department , California Highway Patrol and Morongo Tribal Police with reports of people shooting from a vehicle.

Several victims said they were shot with possible BB guns, including one person who reported being assaulted in the parking lot near Hobby Lobby at 300 S. Highland Springs Avenue, according to police.

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The police stopped traffic at a suspicious vehicle and found Gastelum, Sánchez and three young people between 15 and 17 years old inside.

“The occupants were in possession of four SplatRBall blasters and a loaded Polymer80 unregistered ‘Ghost Gun,'” according to the Banning Police Department. “The investigation revealed that the subjects were driving around Banning, Beaumont and Cabazon, using the SplatRBall blasters to commit assaults on citizens in the area. It is believed that the activity may be related to a recent TikTok trend that occurred in several areas of the country.”

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According to several news reports, a social media trend called the #OrbeezChallenge is asking people to shoot unsuspecting victims with ice pellets from toy guns like SplatRBall blasters. The challenge is named after the ice pellets themselves.

As for the alleged ghost gun found in the suspects’ vehicle, the gun is an ongoing problem in Banning and across the country, according to police. Ghost guns are non-serialized, non-traceable firearms that can be purchased online and assembled at home, and that fire real bullets. Ghost guns are illegal in California.

Nevada-based Polymer80 is one of the largest manufacturers of DIY ghost gun kits in the country. The company has been at the center of several civil lawsuits, including pending cases filed by the cities of Los Angeles and Washington, DC, which accuse the company of ignoring state and federal gun laws.

Gastelum remained jailed Monday at the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning on suspicion of carrying a loaded firearm and carrying an unregistered firearm, both felonies. He was also arrested on suspicion of negligently discharging a firearm and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, both misdemeanors.

Gastelum is due in court Tuesday and was being held in lieu of $10,000 bail, according to jail records.

Sanchez was released on $5,000 bond the day of his arrest after being booked into the Banning facility on misdemeanor charges.

No information was available on the three minors.


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