Three suspects arrested in alleged ‘Orbeez challenge’ assault

Updated at 9:50 a.m. April 22

BROOKINGS – Brookings Police have arrested three men who were allegedly involved in what’s called the “Orbeez challenge,” a TikTok challenge that authorities say is meant to simulate a drive-by shooting.

Arrested Thursday morning were Kamryon Dutton McWilliams, Dvarris Cotton and David Kudel, according to court documents. The men, all 18 years old and all from Brookings, are each facing three counts of aggravated assault, three counts of terrorist threat, and three counts of disorderly conduct. Dutton McWilliams is facing an additional charge of committing or attempting to commit a felony with a firearm.

At about 9:02 p.m. Wednesday, police received a report of a 40-year-old man being struck by several unidentified projectiles while in the 700 block of 22nd Avenue South. No injuries were reported, BPD Sgt. Joel Perry said.

The man was hit in the back while he was in the Hy-Vee parking lot. When he turned around, he observed a red, late ‘90s or early 2000s four-door car, Perry said.

It was later determined the man was shot with “Orbeez,” water absorbent polymer beads, sometimes also known as water beads or gel beads, from a “splatter ball gun” or airsoft gun. 

The incident, and similar incidents reported in surrounding cities, could be attributed to the “Orbeez challenge” seen on TikTok. The challenge encourages users to record the incidents and post the video on the social media platform.

A probable cause statement from Brookings Police says that officers were called to the 1600 block of Sixth Street at about 11 a.m. Thursday, for a report of “individuals shooting what was believed to be water pellet type ammunition at people and were currently in the McDonald’s drive through.”

A vehicle at McDonald’s reportedly matched the description of the suspect vehicle from the Hy-Vee parking lot the night before. The probable cause statement alleges that two splatter guns were found in the suspect vehicle, and that a 9 mm pistol was located on one of the suspects.

At least three people Wednesday and Thursday reported they or their vehicles were shot at.

The Brookings Police Department reminds parents to have conversations with their children about the serious implications of this dangerous trend. All violations of city ordinance or state law regarding discharging of these weapons on city property or at unwilling participants will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law by the BPD and Brookings County State’s Attorney’s Office, Perry said.

All three suspects were being held at the Brookings County Detention Center on $5,000 cash bond as of Thursday afternoon.