KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — Liz Heinzelman is one mad mom.
“We’re looking for you!” she said. “This is not a joke. It’s not funny.”
The welt marks on her kids’ legs and ankles explain her outrage.
Anaya and Aiden, her twin 12-year-old daughter and son, were riding their bikes in the area of Brookmark Street SE and Kalamazoo Avenue in Kentwood, not far from the family home, on Sunday afternoon when they felt an odd feeling on their backsides.
“I thought that gravel from a car passing by was hitting my back,” Anaya said.
It wasn’t gravel. She saw a gun sticking out of the passenger’s side of a vehicle that had come up behind her as it took aim at Aiden.
“It looked like a paintball gun, but it’s like a splat ball gun. It’s shoots like soft Orbeez gel bullets,” Aiden said.
What happened to them matches the widely reported so-called TikTok Drive-By Challenge, where unsuspecting people walking or biking down the street are hit with the soft pellets. The pellets are filled with gel, but they hurt when they hit bare skin.
“No. They feel like hard. They feel like gravel. They feel like rocks,” Aiden described.
By the time the kids figured out they had been hit with something, the vehicle from which the shots were fired had come back.
“He stopped right at the corner where we were about to turn on our road and he stopped and said to me, ‘You fool.’ And then he started shooting my head,” Anaya said.
“They’d never seen the vehicle before. Never seen these people before,” mother Liz Heinzelman said.
The Kentwood Police Department is looking for a green sedan involved in the incident. The kids told their mom the driver was an adult. The teenage passenger who fired the shot and two children were also in the vehicle.
Police are also looking at the TikTok angle. They haven’t received any reports of similar cases.
Heinzelman is putting out the word, hoping police can put a stop to future incidents, which could have more serious consequences.
“At first, I was just thankful they weren’t seriously injured,” Heinzelman said. “But now, now I’m mad. And I don’t want this to happen to any other kids. “