MANTECA -- Teens playing with brightly colored toy guns and foam darts may seem innocent enough, but police say the game they're playing has the potential to turn deadly.
“It could be misidentified as an actual firearm which would be dangerous to the people around you and people want to get that handled,” former Manteca High School student Nathaniel Palacios said.
The senior tradition of the pay-to-play “Assassination Game” involves students who are given targets to shoot with water or dart guns and the last student standing wins cash.
The Manteca Unified School District and police department are trying to put an end to the game.
“These are just kids and they're just trying to have fun playing a game but you got to take into the whole consideration that it is a very dangerous game,” Manteca Police Lieutenant Stephen Schuler said.
Police say they've gotten at least four calls in just the last week involving the game.
“Honestly, it's just a big risk that really isn't worth taking,” Palacios said.
Some say students are taking the game too far.
“We've had prowler calls where a resident is calling in that a person in dark clothing is up on their front porch and it looks like they have a gun in their hand and she called the police,” Schuler said. “And then we've had it to where vehicles are chasing each other through town. We've had one where they have yelled out that, ‘I shot you! I shot you!’ which prompts citizens to call 911 stating that someone's been shot.”
Some say the game can easily lead to serious situations because police have to respond to every call as if it's real.
“If we get called there's been a shooting and a car is involved, we are going pull you over,” Schuler said. “We're going to have several police officers there in cars and we're going to point guns at you because we don't know.