It’s one thing to say “kids will be kids” but when it comes to inflicting harm on the community, there’s no excuse that any of us should consider acceptable. This afternoon, Meridian Police Department shared a post informing local residents that they have seen a recent uptick in calls about juveniles using “battery-powered water gel bead guns” or "splat guns" to commit “drive-by shootings” on unsuspecting victims.

Earlier this morning, a local named Diane called into our colleague Kevin Miller’s show on our sister station KIDO to share her encounter last night. She was taking her grandkids to a Sonic Drive-In to get them milkshakes when her grandson got out of the vehicle to get a closer look at the menu.

“He got out to read the board because we couldn’t park perfectly,” Diane shared, “and a carload of boys came by, rolled their window down, and shot my grandkid three times with an air pellet.”

“They shot him in the eye and in on the side of his head then sped off.”

When Diane reported the incident to police, she was shocked to learn this wasn’t the only incident recently reported and the shooters weren’t just targeting children.

“They shot a service dog with their air pellets and a man walking in his neighborhood,” said Diane.

In their post notifying the community of the rise in these “drive-by shootings”, Meridian Police Department also reported that school resource officers (SROs) have been confiscating the battery-powered guns also known as “splat guns.”

Look, parents – I get it. With the constant closing and reopening of schools, it can be difficult to keep track of your kids. Perhaps you’re even encouraging them to get out of the house to get them away from a screen, that’s great… but know what they’re doing, know who they’re with, and know where they’re at.

If my four-year-old was in the situation that Diane’s grandson was, I would be livid and heartbroken that my child was the butt of someone else’s sick way of having fun. It’s degrading, it’s disrespectful, and it’s repulsive.

Meridian Police advised parents with reminders to share with their kids that may seem like common sense, but as with kids, oftentimes you have to repeat yourself regularly. Be safe out there.

If you’re curious as to how these “splat guns” work, you can check out the video below to see what these juveniles are shooting at children, service dogs, and innocent bystanders. General warning: if you’re squeamish on pain or seeing a bunch of welts, you may not want to watch!

Here’s another video showing a bit more about how they work.

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