ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – Fear can be heard in the voices of several people who called 911 during a game called “assassin" that deputies said some Ponte Vedra High School students took to “potentially dangerous levels."
The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office said the game with more than 300 participants divided into 64 teams involved teenagers wearing camouflage and carrying squirt guns and Nerf guns, some of which were even made to look realistic.
“They are in full hunting garb," a 911 caller said. “One looked like he had a short weapon.”
After school got out Monday afternoon at Ponte Vedra High, according to deputies, the Sheriff’s Office received calls about students shooting at each other from speeding cars, driving through neighborhoods and chasing each other.
“They are speeding through the area,” another 911 caller said. “There were a bunch of (vehicles). I couldn’t tell you what they were, but they’re all involved in this game of capturing somebody or something.”
Community members who called 911 found the game threatening and not funny.
“They were at my front door in full camouflage, and they started at the front door and started creeping around my back door. I’m talking full camo like they are going to be snipers in a field,” a different 911 caller said. "I started banging on my front window, saying, ‘Who are you?’ And they didn’t run. They started walking toward me. My mom entered the room and I told my mom to go and get her gun.”
A homeowner, who did not wish to be identified, told News4Jax that she didn’t realize the activity in her yard was just a game.
”I am not so scared of the kids. I’m not so scared of the fake guns. I lay in bed completely terrified because if they would have confronted me in this way, in my backyard, in the dark, I think things would have turned out differently," she said. “It’s really scary that they could have really been hurt."
Ponte Vedra High school officials sent parents a message, which reads in part:
“There is a high potential for things to go tragically wrong. Given the fact that this game began yesterday, the number of reports received by SJSO is staggering. It would be devastating if one or more of our students is hurt or worse from something that is completely avoidable. The PVHS administration strongly recommends that students forgo their participation in this game and behavior."
Communities such as Marsh Landing sent out notices to residents about the high school game, encouraging them to call the Sheriff’s Office to report any reckless behavior.