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Teen suspect in Illinois charged with shooting Barrington High School students with water beads in TikTok challenge; transgender student believes he was targeted

By Web Staff

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    BARRINGTON, Illinois (WBBM) — A juvenile suspect has been charged with shooting multiple students at Barrington High School with a water bead gun as part of a TikTok challenge.

One transgender student who was struck along with his boyfriend believes they were targeted in a hate crime – but the suspect has not been charged as such.

Barrington police said they learned the juvenile suspect shot at several people with an item that was identified as a SplatRBall Water Bead Blaster. Police did not specify whether the juvenile suspect is also a Barrington High School student.

Three people were struck by the water beads, and one suffered a minor injury. Two of the three students decided to seek prosecution.

Police said the suspect was taking part in the “Orbeez challenge” a dangerous new trend that has made its way to the campus. The trend involves people shooting the Orbeez balls at others with an airsoft gun or gel-ball gun for the TikTok social video platform.

The suspect has been charged as a juvenile with two counts each of disorderly conduct and battery.

Matt Petterson – a transgender junior at Barrington High School – believes he was targeted in something more sinister than a TikTok challenge.

“My boyfriend got shot in the face, and he has a bruise there now,” Matt told us last week.

Barrington High School sent a letter, acknowledging students who were victims of this incident are members of the LGBTQ community; and also stating “harassment, bullying, or intimidation of any kind will not be tolerated.”

Matt’s mother, Kristen Petterson, said both she and the school’s officer filed a report with the Barrington Police Department.

“This just kind of crosses the line, and I don’t feel like it was just a TikTok challenge, because the shooters followed him into the school,” she said.

Matt said if he didn’t get the safety he required, he planned to transfer to another school.

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