Kansas high school ‘assassin’ game ends with girl’s father allegedly shooting, paralyzing teen


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A group of Kansas high schoolers’ “senior assassin” prank involving gel bead guns erupted into chaos last month when it ended in a teenager being shot with a real gun and paralyzed from the waist down, a recently filed affidavit shows.

Sedgwick Sheriff’s Office deputies initially responded to a shooting outside a Goddard Walmart just before 5 p.m. May 11 and found 18-year-old Anakin Zehring suffering from a gunshot wound to his back, which hit his liver, kidney and spinal cord, paralyzing him, according to police and a GoFundMe organized by Zehring’s parents.

“On May 11th, our lives changed forever when my son was involved in the tragic incident at the Goddard Walmart shooting,” his parents wrote on the GoFundMe page. “He sustained severe injuries, including a bullet wound that punctured his duodenum (upper part of the small intestine) and damaged his spinal cord, causing loss of sensation from the waist down. Despite undergoing four surgeries and intense medical care, his recovery journey is just beginning, and we need your help.”

A 16-year-old and 17-year-old boy were with Zehring in the vehicle when he was struck but ran from the scene. Authorities ultimately caught up with the two teenage witnesses and questioned them, an affidavit states.

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Anakin Zehring

Anakin Zehring and his friends allegedly shot a gel-bead gun at two juveniles outside a Walmart on May 11 as part of a social media game called “senior assassin.” (GoFundMe)

The three friends had been playing “senior assassin” – a social media-based game usually involving high school seniors targeting others with water guns and gel-bead guns. Participants often record the “attacks” and post them to social media. The game resulted in two Long Island schools going into lockdown on Monday, according to News 12.

In Zehring’s case, he and his friends allegedly shot at two other juveniles – a 17-year-old female identified as S.C. and her 17-year-old boyfriend identified as G.B. – outside the Goddard Walmart with a gel-bead gun. Zehring told police his friend shot the gel blaster while his friend told police it was Zehring who fired at the two teenagers.

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The female teenager called her father, Ruben Marcus Contreras, and told him what had happened.

Ruben Marcus Contreras mugshot

Ruben Marcus Contreras has been charged with first-degree attempted murder and has been released from the Sedgwick County Jail on bond. (Sedgwick County Jail)

Contreras then drove to the Walmart and later found Zehring and his friends in their Chevrolet Spark, took a handgun out of his waistband and allegedly shot into the vehicle, striking the 18-year-old victim, authorities said in the affidavit.

Contreras has since been charged with first-degree attempted murder and has been released from the Sedgwick County Jail on bond. His attorney could not be reached for comment.

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A Walmart employee overheard the teenagers in the Spark shout, “I’m your senior assassin,” before shooting the gel blaster and contacted his manager. S.C. heard them shout the same thing.

The three teenagers tried to enter the Walmart shortly after targeting S.C. and G.B., but a manager escorted them outside the store, according to the affidavit.

The Walmart in Goddard, Kansas, where the shooting took place

The shooting occurred in broad daylight outside a Goddard, Kansas, Walmart on May 11. (Google Maps)

“As G.B. and S.C. walked out of the Walmart, G.B. went to confront the males as they were walking into the Walmart and one of the males called him b—- and later told him to meet him out back of the Walmart. G.B. and S.C. walked over to where they parked and moved their vehicle to the pickup area for online orders and waited for CONTRERAS to show up,” the affidavit states.

When Contreras arrived, his daughter and her boyfriend pointed out the three teenage “assassins” getting into their Chevrolet Spark in the parking lot. A witness told investigators that he saw Contreras approach them and try to open the car’s door handle to stop them from leaving. The witness “stated he observed the vehicle move forward and then heard pop.” 

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The same witness “observed the vehicle pull forward and turn west and take off at high rate of speed and hit metal shipping container.”

The witness walked over to Contreras and asked what happened. Contreras allegedly said, “They shot my daughter,” multiple times, according to the affidavit.

The witness then walked over to the victim vehicle and apparently saw the driver, later identified as Zehring, suffering from a gunshot wound. Zehring told the witness he could not feel his legs.



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