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Police chief fears squirt gun game could turn tragic

Intelligencer/Wheeling News Register photo Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger
Intelligencer/Wheeling News Register photo
Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger

WHEELING, W.Va. – Some Wheeling area high school students are sneaking around neighborhoods, hiding in yards and cars and stalking their prey with water guns that could be mistaken for real weapons. Some are wearing camouflage, masks and bandannas.

It’s all part of a game called “Assassins,” and Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger is concerned it could lead to a real life tragedy.

He said the game involves 135 two-person teams of students from Wheeling Park High School, Wheeling Central Catholic High School and The Linsly School. The teams are assigned another team to target. The team must hunt their target and squirt them with a water gun, then take a picture of the wet target to show elimination. In the end, the winning team will win more than $1,300 taken from an entry fee of participants. Assigned teams have two weeks to eliminate their target to avoid elimination.

Schwertfeger said the teams cannot attack their target during school, work, prom or at a sporting event. They cannot break into a house to ambush a target, the guns cannot look like real guns and the police cannot be called.

“Because of time restrictions, many of these students are hunting their targets late at night or early in the morning when it is dark,” he said. “I have been made aware of students chasing their targets in vehicles, running into local restaurants and stores to hit their targets and hiding in bushes or sheds.”

Schwertfeger said some of the activity could look like a real breaking and entering in progress or an armed assault. He said one Wheeling police officer returning home from work encountered some players sneaking around his house….

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