Mercer Island police are investigating what struck two St. Monica Catholic School elementary students while they played outside during school hours on the afternoon of April 6.
The students felt a slight sting to their legs by what was potentially pellets from an air soft gun or an air rifle discharged by an occupant of a black Jeep, according to police commander Jeff Magnan.
After the Jeep sped away, the students reported the incident to their teachers and noted that they hadn’t sustained any injuries or marks on their legs. An officer who was flagged down in the area at 1 p.m. couldn’t locate the Jeep after searching the vicinity. The students were playing on the school’s field near the fence that borders a slope alongside Southeast 42nd Street.
Police didn’t recover any pellets on site and don’t know whether the students were playing alone or in a group or if they were targeted. Magnan added that they don’t have a solid description of the age of the driver or other possible occupants.
While alerting the community of the incident in an online letter, Mayor Salim Nice mentioned that Island youth utilize Nerf guns in a simulated mercenary game called “Assassin” during this time of the year.
On the St. Monica incident, Magnan said: “We have no idea whether or not the game had anything to do with this incident that occurred with the black Jeep.”
The game features teams competing on foot, and “while jovial in nature, this game presents serious safety concerns the community should consider,” Nice wrote. He added that residents could mistake participants as a potential violent threat, leading to unintended injury or police response.
Magnan said the game, which has been played on the Island for a number of years, involves participants who have agreed to play against each other. Non-players aren’t targeted during “Assassin,” he added.
The police commander said the mayor expressed his concern that “Assassin” could potentially be problematic with players invading residents’ private property.
Regarding police response while “Assassin” is being played, Magnan said: “For the most part, it doesn’t really involve us, though we have concerns about people going on private property and have contacted people playing the game on people’s private property. There haven’t been any charges or anything that has stemmed from it.”
One Facebook commentor on the city’s page thanked the city and Nice for posting the letter, which can be read in full at https://tinyurl.com/52y2bjww: “As a parent of students who were emotionally traumatized by Wednesday’s events, we appreciate you bringing this to our community’s attention.”
Anyone with information about the April 6 incident can contact the police department’s non-emergency phone number at 425-577-5656.
The Reporter reached out to the school for a comment, but didn’t receive a reply at post time.