An 18-year-old Bronx teen is now dead after what authorities allege is a water gun challenge gone wrong. Yesterday (July 21), officers found Raymond Chaluisant unresponsive with a gunshot wound to his face. He was then taken to Saint Barnabas Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The alleged shooter was 45-year-old corrections officer Dion Middleton, who was arrested later in the day at the Correction Department’s firing range. He has since been charged with murder, manslaughter, and criminal possession of a weapon.
According to police, the incident may have taken place after Chaluisant used (or attempted to use) an Orbeez Blaster — a popular water pellet gun — as part of a TikTok challenge. Several videos on the social media platform show scores of users pelting innocent victims with beads from those guns, and authorities believe that Middleton fired back at Chaluisant with a real gun in retaliation.
Because they can be classified as air rifles, Orbeez Blasters and similar-styled weapons are banned in NYC. A tweet from the city’s police department further explains, while also making the consequences of being found with that kind of water gun clear:
“Bead Blasters shoot gel water beads propelled by a spring-loaded air pump, making them an air rifle. Air rifles are a violation in NYC & are unlawful to possess. Violators found in possession of these will be issued a criminal summons & the weapon will be confiscated.”
According to the New York Times, DOC Commissioner Louis A. Molina released a statement in the wake of the fatal shooting, and assured those concerned that Middleton’s alleged actions “are in no way a reflection of the officers who work to keep our city safe every day”:
“This officer will be immediately suspended without pay, and if the charges are true, he will face the full consequences of the law and be terminated.”