LYNNWOOD, Wash — A Lynnwood woman believes she was the target of a social media stunt at a public park that could have resulted in a serious injury.
Thien Truong was at Picnic Point Park when she said she was shot in the head with a pellet gun.
Truong has come to the park almost every day for the past year to walk her dogs and play with her kids. She never had a problem, until Tuesday.
"I didn't suspect anything," she said, "but now I believe when the boys came to this park they were on a mission."
Truong said she encountered a group of three high school-aged boys as she walked back from the beach. Soon after they passed each other she said the group turned around and went back to their car.
As Truong was walking up the side of the road toward her home they approached.
"It all happened so fast," she said. "Something hit me near my eye. They just laughed really loud and drove off."
Truong believes she was shot with some sort of pellet gun. The projectile hit her in the temple just an inch from her eye.
"I almost had a severe injury to my eyes for no reason," said the mother of two. "How could these kids be so cruel?"
Truong fears the incident is part of a viral social media challenge where teenagers do drive-by shootings with airsoft or pellet guns, targeting unsuspecting people.
Police departments across the country have issued warnings to the public and parents to be on the lookout for this sort of dangerous prank and to tell their kids not to do it. However, reports of the prank are still popping up across the country.
"I feel like this is going viral and it's out of control," Truong said. "It's happening every few days."
The prank was popularized on TikTok. A spokesperson told KING 5, "This behavior does not appear to be native to TikTok, and this isn't content that is popular/prevalent on the app."
She added, "To help keep TikTok safe and welcoming, we employ various methods to help prevent potentially harmful content from flourishing on the platform, including removing content that violates our Community Guidelines, making some content ineligible for recommendation, and limiting search suggestions."
The spokesperson pointed out TikTok has partnered with "top creators" to make short videos that encourage our community to Stop, Think, Decide, and Act.
Regardless, Truong wants those responsible for the attack held accountable.
"This has to stop," she said. "I don't think I'll be the last victim, unfortunately."