Teen Left Paralyzed After Senior ‘Prank’ Goes Wrong, Dad Allegedly Opens Fire

A teenage “prank” went horribly wrong in Wichita, Kansas, last month, when a a group of teens began firing a toy gun at people in a Walmart parking lot, only to get shot with a real gun in return.

This incident, sparked by three teen boys acting like vandals and punks, ended badly, allegedly at the hands of a man infuriated that his daughter was harassed. And it all could have been so easily avoided.

According to police, on May 11, a Haysville teenager was left paralyzed from the chest down after he allegedly fired a gel blaster gun at a teen girl in the store’s parking lot, The Wichita Eagle reported.

A gel blaster is a toy that fires polymer water beads that explode on contact. The gel balls can leave welts, but are non-lethal items.

According to witnesses, Anakin R. Zehring and two friends cruised through the Goddard, Kansas, Walmart parking lot and spied a teen girl and boy walking in the lot. At that point, Zehring allegedly pulled out the gel blaster and began firing the gel balls at the pair while one of his two friends yelled, “I’m your senior assassin.”


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The male who was shot at also told police that the three teens in the car jumped out of their vehicle and threatened to fight him.

The three boys were then seen walking to a nearby Dairy Queen, according to a Walmart employee who witnessed the attack.

The Walmart employee also told police that Zehring was identified as having used the gel gun to shoot at other people in the parking lot as well as at store employees.

Zehring later insisted he wasn’t the one shooting the gun, but one of his companions said it was Zehring, not him or the third friend.

Did this dad go too far?

The three boys entered the Walmart after going to the Dairy Queen, but were asked to leave by a Walmart manager.

In the meantime, while this was happening, the teen girl who was targeted by the prank and shot with the gel gun had called her father and told him that she and her friend were being assaulted in the Walmart parking lot.

After the three boys were kicked out of the Walmart, 47-year-old Ruben Contreras, the father of the harassed teen girl, arrived at the store. The girl pointed the three harassers out and he walked to their car to confront them.

According to KWCH-TV, parking lot surveillance video showed Contreras trying to open the door of the teens’ Chevy Spark as they pulled out of a parking space.

The video also seemed to show Contreras pulling out a firearm and firing one shot into the car driven by the prankster.


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“Contreras has the firearm in his right hand and sticks his hand into the open window of the driver’s side back seat area,” a police affidavit obtained by the station said. “It is at this point Contreras fires one round into the vehicle.”

“Zehring said his ears [started] ringing and realized he had been shot,” the affidavit continues. “Zehring says he turned to the west and realized he couldn’t feel his legs. Zehring stated he hit a pole in the parking lot to get the Spark to stop because he didn’t want to hit anyone in the roadway.”

The police affidavit added that “The round struck his kidney [and] liver and Zehring may be paralyzed.”

“Currently, he is experiencing a loss of sensation in his lower extremities, and while the prognosis remains uncertain, we are holding onto hope for his recovery,” the family wrote in a GoFundMe appeal. “The financial burden of this journey is immense. Medical expenses are mounting rapidly, and we are bracing for future costs related to his ongoing care and rehabilitation.”

The whole incident is tragic. But it all could have been avoided with cooler heads on both sides — well before any gun, even toy guns, were deployed. These boys should never have been out looking for trouble and treating other people as targets — literally — for their idiotic pranks.

But the aggravated father also had no right to begin using lethal force in response. Being hit with a gel blaster is not cause for a deadly response with firearms.

Unfortunately, these three teen boys played stupid games and won stupid prizes for their efforts. And now the lives of two people and a dozen of their loved ones are in tatters.

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