Dearborn teen charged after Orbeez trend, Crumbley parents back in court, woman sues Hope Care Network

A trend that's grown on TikTok being mimicked by teenagers has led to one arrest in Dearborn after a resident allegedly fired objects from a gel blaster gun.

The Orbeez Challenge involves people loading water-absorbent polymer beads into a gun then driving by and shooting people at random. Those firing the gun are often being filmed as they do it.

According to Dearborn police, a teen resident now faces an assault charge for imitating the trend.

 "Once again we find ourselves dealing with a dangerous trend on social media that has influenced our young people to make dangerous choices that can have lifetime consequences," said Dearborn Police Chief Issa Shahin. 

"I encourage parents to talk to their kids about what they see on social media and to pay attention to the next inevitable dangerous trend that is sure to arise. The Dearborn Police Department will have a zero-tolerance approach to activities such as this that pose danger to the public."

It's not the first internet trend that has migrated into communities. 

In Pennsylvania, four teens were arrested after firing a gel pellet gun at a group of students at a middle school. In Florida, a woman was struck in the arm while walking her child.

Packs of the popular children's toy come with 500 Orbeez. While the beads are typically created with water, others have instead frozen the pellets to intensify their effects.

But the trend comes with many dangers, including that the toy guns can look like real firearms. When the challenge takes place, it can create panic among those believing something worse is going on. 

MORE: Orbeez Challenge: Police warn about the dangers of the trend involving gel pellets, air guns

There's also a danger of what kind of damage the ammunition could cause upon impact. In Georgia, children playing in a park came away bloodied after being shot. The offenders have been charged with aggravated assault. 

The suspect teen in Dearborn will be arraigned on an assault charge in the 19th District Court. His identity is being withheld pending an arraignment. 

James and Jennifer Crumbley in court Tuesday

James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of accused Oxford High School shooter Ethan Crumbley, are expected to be back in court on Tuesday, March 22 for a pre-trial hearing. It will be the first appearance in a month for the Crumbleys after they were ordered to stand trial last month following a two-day preliminary examination. 

Both James and Jennifer Crumbley are facing involuntary manslaughter charges stemming from the fatal attack their son is accused of carrying out at his high school on Nov. 30, 2021. During Tuesday's pre-trial hearing, the defense will have the chance to address any issues with the case before it goes to trial. 

There can also be motions regarding evidence and plea negotiations may also be discussed. The hearing comes just a couple of days after Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald filed a hearing not to name the accused shooter in court for the parents' hearings and trial. "Shooters want to be famous," McDonald said in a statement. 

"It's one of the key motivators for most shooters, and it was definitely a motivator for the Oxford shooter. He wanted to be famous and he wanted to be remembered." McDonald went on to say that each shooter wants to be more famous than the one before and she will ‘not be part of’ contributing to future shootings. Ethan Crumbley is also expected in court this week with another hearing regarding his placement in the Oakland County Jail with adult inmates

Caregiver sues employer who fired her after reporting sexual assault

A woman from a religious organization that provides homes for people with disabilities said she was fired after reporting being sexually assaulted at work. The caregiver said she was putting a resident to bed one night with a co-worker raped her.

Identified as Beth, she is now suing The Hope Care Network. When she told her relatives about the assault, they helped her report it to superiors at work, who advised her to report it to authorities and get a rape kid done. "Then it was constant phone calls and berated from HR: ‘Why did it take two days for me to call them?' Until October, until they finally told me I was fired," she said.

Beth was 22 at the time she claims she was fired without explanation. The prosecutor told her they couldn't bring charges because the co-worker claimed it was consensual and there was no other way to prove otherwise. 

"In fact human resources diminished her account. What they said to her, ‘If you didn’t scream and you didn’t fight back, is it really rape?’" attorney Jonathan Marko said. The attorney said her discharge from work was against the Elliot Larsen's Civil Right's Act. 

Detroit reaches $7.5 million settlement with man wrongfully convicted as a teen

The City of Detroit reached a $7.5 million settlement with Davontae Sanford, who spent eight years in prison for a murder he didn't commit, earlier this month. Sanford was 14 when he was accused of killing four people. In 2008, at 15 years old, he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced prison.

He was released in 2016 after a Michigan State Police report said two other men were responsible.  When Sanford was released, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said a statement from then-Detroit Police Deputy Chief James Tolbert resulted in the MSP investigation that lead to the charges being dropped.

Initially, according to transcripts, a sketch of the house where the four victims were shot and killed was said to have been drawn by Davontae Sanford. However, Tolbert later testified that he drew the sketch.

Worthy noted at the time that other evidence was also key to overturning the conviction, including tracking dogs, gun residue, and Sanford's confession. After he was free, Sanford sued. He was seeking punitive and compensatory damages.

MSP: Troopers did right thing by not jumping into Greektown brawl

A fight broke out Thursday inside the new food court at Greektown Casino in Detroit. Two Michigan State Police troopers responded as a group brawled on St. Patrick's Day. Video shows the troopers walking around to keep the fight at bay by talking to the people fighting.

MSP Lt. Mike Shaw said it was a "wise decision" not to jump in and further escalate the situation because the troopers were so outnumbered. "You only had the two police officers, so it was kind of understandable," said Danario Thomas, who was trying to buy a cheeseburger when the fight started. Police said 15 people were escorted from the property. No one was arrested. Greektown Casino-Hotel released a statement:

"We are aware of the isolated incident that occurred this past Saturday night in our Monroe Market area, located outside of the Greektown Casino-Hotel gaming floors.  The occurrence is part of an ongoing investigation, and we are cooperating fully with Michigan State Police and the Detroit Police Department. The safety of our guests and employees are always a top priority for our in-house security team, and they responded promptly to help de-escalate the situation."

Thomas said he hopes what happened Thursday isn't a sign of what is to come this summer. "Since they're letting up off the Covid it might get a little wild out here. Like I say, just be safe as you can be," he said. Detroit police introduced a plan last summer designed to quell crime in the area after numerous fights and shootings.

What else we're watching

  1. The University of Michigan athletic department is looking to secure $41 million in funding to pay for a new scoreboard at the Big House. It would be up and running by the 2023 season if the funding is approved. 
  2. Michigan State Police are investigating a shooting in Bruce Township after a homeowner said she heard several gunshots strike her home. Police found multiple bullet holes in her house and a nearby vehicle. Anyone with information about the shooting is as to call the Metro North Post at (248) 584-5740
  3. The $1.3 billion in pandemic aid funding is one of the largest infusions of money that Detroit Public Schools has ever seen. For a district behind in both learning and infrastructure investments, it offers a big opportunity to improve old buildings and build on after school and tutoring programs.
  4. The Department of Housing and Urban Development will be announcing a major funding opportunity for disaster relief and weather resilience grants as officials look toward the next round of extreme weather this year. 
  5. The 60th Ann Arbor Film Festival kicks off March 22 for both online and in-person events over the five-day occasion. A total of 125 to 150 films will be displayed during the festival. 

Live on FOX 2

Daily Forecast

Tuesday isn't going to be as nice as Monday or Sunday. Temperatures will be in the 40s with windy conditions likely making things even colder. A round of widespread rain tonight will also last until Wednesday. 

Russia-Ukraine war: Ukrainian forces retake key Kyiv suburb as battle for Mariupol rages

The battle for Ukraine's cities is thundering across its suburbs, with the Ukrainian military retaking a key neighborhood near Kyiv and the invading Russian forces increasing air raids that have caused uncounted deaths and sent more than 3.5 million people fleeing.

Ukraine's military said early Tuesday it had forced Russian troops out of a strategically important Kyiv suburb. However, Russian forces were partially able to take three northwest suburbs where there's been fighting for weeks.

Civilians making the dangerous escape from the embattled southern port city of Mariupol described fleeing through street-to-street gun battles and past unburied corpses as steady Russian bombardment tried to pound the city into submission. There was no immediate sign of a diplomatic breakthrough that could bring even temporary relief.