Soft-pellet shootings in McPherson take people by surprise while on a stroll

For some in McPherson, a stroll on the sidewalk turned into chaos as simply being out made them targets.
Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 7:25 PM CDT
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MCPHERSON, Kan. (KWCH) - For some in McPherson, a stroll on the sidewalk turned into shock, as simply being out made them targets.

Last week, Stella Gestl was out with her maid of honor, walking and talking about Gestl’s big day coming up next month.

“I’m getting married in October, so we were just going on a walk, kind of like a venting walk,” Gestl said.

As they were walking back to Gestl’s grandmother’s house, a calm scene turned hectic in an unusual way.

“I thought I stepped over some sticks cause it was a loud noise, and it just hit the back of our legs, but then it happened again, and it was really painful,” Gestl said.

Two people in a truck were targeting Gestl and her maid of honor, Tara Tresvant.

“We saw this guy hanging out the passenger window, holding like the airsoft gun,” Tresvant said.

Tresvant said the soft pellets also hit her in the arm. Tresvant and Gestl said as the truck drove off, they saw two people who appeared to be teens in the vehicle. They thought that was the end of it.

“Then another guy got out of the car with his hoody on and sunglasses on and started chasing us with an airsoft gun,” Geistl said.

When the friends went into a nearby convenience store, they said the “guy” armed with an airsoft gun stopped chasing them. This was one of two incidents McPherson Police said they responded to last Wednesday and said they believe they’ve identified the people involved. Police said what was used in the crime was an Orbeez soft-pellet gun that fires small water beads.

Searching online shows similar incidents happening across the country, reportedly connected to a social media trend.

“We had no idea what was going on. Like, hyperventilating,” Geistl said. “Only thing we wanted to do was call our moms.”

McPherson Police said they’ve had a couple of similar incidents reported in the last few weeks but don’t know if people identified for the recent crime are connected and they’re continuing to investigate.

“When we were walking, there were people out with little kids, children,” Tresvant said. “That’s just scary, thinking about a younger child getting shot.”

Police said there were no serious injuries reported with the recent incidents.

Last month, Welling Public Schools reported a similar crime where someone used a soft pellet gun to shoot at students and coaches during sports practices.