'Senior Assassin' game results in potentially dangerous misunderstandings, police warn

Walter Perez Image
Thursday, April 25, 2024
How 'Senior Assassin' game can lead to dangerous misunderstandings
'Senior Assassin' game results in potentially dangerous misunderstandings, police warn

ABINGTON TWP., Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Police officials in the Philadelphia region are sounding the alarm about a potentially dangerous game that's becoming more and more popular across the country.

It was just a few weeks ago when a homeowner in Abington Township witnessed some unusual behavior nearby.

"A neighbor saw a kid prowling around the house. Looks like he was looking in the windows. Turned out to be the kid who is just playing the game waiting for the other kid to come out of the house," said Abington Twp. Police Det. Lt. Steven Fink.

The game is called "senior assassin." It commonly involves high school seniors making a list of classmates who then pursue each other with water guns or Nerf guns. The winner is the last person who isn't sprayed.

It sounds innocent enough, but more and more reports of dangerous misunderstandings have been surfacing.

Recently, in suburban Chicago, two teenagers playing the game entered a restaurant wearing hoodies and masks. As they approached classmates sitting at a table, they pulled out their water guns.

Another patron, with a concealed carry license, started pulling out his firearm thinking it was a robbery.

"It's my understanding that he was in the process of pulling out the weapon and it was displayed," said Shawn Gaylor, who is a police lieutenant in Gurnee, Illinois.

Fortunately, no one was injured.

Here in the Delaware Valley, it was last spring when a teenager playing the game approached a sporting event at a school in Lower Merion.

"Someone saw what they believed was a student with a weapon and so they reported that the police, and that kind of spread throughout the sporting event, causing an evacuation of the school," said Lower Merion Police Lt. Sgt. Michael Keenan.

Once again, fortunately, no one was injured.

So, police officials in the Philadelphia area want parents and school administrators to explain to young people how prowling around town with what might appear to be a weapon is simply not a good idea.

"While kids want to have fun and they want to celebrate graduation, sometimes the way in which they play these games and try to get each other can really create unintended consequences," said Keenan.

Police are encouraging young people to take precautions if they insist on playing the game. For example, nothing on school grounds, nothing on private property, and use large, bright plastic water guns that could never be mistaken for a handgun.