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

BANNING, CA – Two men and three juveniles suspected of shooting into 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 p.m. that night to assist the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, California Highway Patrol and Morongo Tribal Police with reports for people shooting from a vehicle.

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

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Law enforcement conducted a traffic stop on a suspect vehicle and found Gastelum, Sanchez and three juveniles between the ages of 15 and 17 inside.

According to the Prohibition Police Department, “The travelers were in possession of four SplatRBall blasters and a loaded unregistered Polymer80 Ghost Gun.” Investigation revealed that the subjects were traveling through 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 occurring in several areas across the country. .”

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

As for the alleged ghost gun found in the suspects’ vehicle, the gun is an ongoing issue in Banning and around the country, according to police. Ghost guns are unserialized and untraceable firearms that can be purchased online and assembled at home, and they 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 flouting state and federal gun laws.

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

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

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

Information on the three juveniles was not available.

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