ST. LOUIS — A south St. Louis neighborhood is facing an influx of crime, sparked by a social media challenge. FOX 2 first covered the “Orbeez Tik Tok Challenge” in April, where kids were shooting paintballs and pellet guns at pedestrians. 

Residents in the Holly Hills neighborhood in south St. Louis said they have seen teens shooting at homes with either paintballs or Orbeez balls. 

“It’s not fun, and it’s no way to kick her summer off,” said longtime Holly Hills resident Steve Butz. He said the area is very safe, which is why what happened to him yesterday was so surprising.”

“I heard the strange sound, like a little air pellet rifle sound, and all of a sudden I’m like, ‘Dang something bit me,'” Butz told FOX 2.  

He said he quickly realized he was shot by a paint gun that hit him in the torso and in the lip. He said he looked up and saw two teens driving off with the paint guns in their hands, speeding away. 

“For the first minute, I was in a little bit of shock,” Butz said. “I really couldn’t believe that it just happened to me. These kids can’t be driving around just shooting pedestrians. Somebody’s going to be hurt seriously,” Butz said. 

This crime spree sparked from a TikTok trend called the “Orbeez Challenge,” where teens use Orbeez balls and paintballs and shoot them at people and objects. It’s been going on for weeks across the county. 

Back in April, FOX 2 reported on multiple Metro East residents being shot at. 

“There’s no place for it in a residential area,” said Capt. Pierre Benoist.

Benoist said this challenge could be even more dangerous for the kids involved. 

“The resident may pull a gun out and return fire, believing that he is being fired upon with a real gun. So that takes it to a whole different level,” Benoist said. 

Butz hopes something needs to be done– whether that is more police on the street – or more gun education and monitoring from parents.  

“The importance of gun safety is not just for actual firearms. It certainly starts even with toy guns. It’s very difficult to distinguish a toy gun from a real gun. But, I think parental intervention is probably the most important,” Butz adds. 

St. Louis police said they have seen a spike recently in these types of crimes but said the frequency or areas of the crimes are not apparently consistent.