3 arrested after 31 students struck by airsoft pellets at Marion, IL junior high

MARION, Ill. (KBSI) – Three people were arrested and face charges after more than three dozen students were struck by airsoft pellets from a passing vehicle Wednesday morning at Marion Jr. High School in Marion, Illinois.

Eadin S. Stewart, 18, of Johnston City, Ryan J. Nance, 23, of Carterville and Travis J. Rule, 18, of Energy were arrested.

Each face 38 counts of aggravated battery.

It was reported to Marion police that these incidents were part of a TikTok Challenge.

Around 10:45 a.m. on March 1, 37 Marion Jr. High School students were struck in different areas of their bodies by what is believed to be airsoft pellets from a passing vehicle on Cherry Street while on the track during their PE class. In total 38 people were victims, according to the police department.

There were no apparent serious injuries. All the students involved were seen by the school nurse. Parents were contacted.

The vehicle was described as a black passenger Chrysler four door and left the scene on W. Cherry Street.

A short time later, a Marion police officer found a black Chrysler parked at the fuel pumps at the Casey’s General Store on S. Court Street. Officers approached the vehicle and saw several “Orbeez pellets” lying on the seats and floorboards. Those in the vehicle were taken into custody and taken to the Marion Police Department for questioning.

As a precautionary measure, all Marion CUSD #2 students remained inside the buildings until law enforcement issued the all clear communication to all of the schools.

“This stuff right here, this is, this is scary for us!” said parent Christine Foster.

Foster’s daughter attends the school and was hit behind the ear.

“In the head. That means that like they were like aiming for these kids’ heads,” said Foster. “I would imagine that she was running, towards the school, if she got hit in the back of the ear.”

In a release from the Marion Community Unit School District #2 to parents, the district says no major injuries occurred, parents were contacted, and all students involved were seen by the school nurse.

Law enforcement was contacted immediately, but Foster says it still wasn’t enough.

“I’m kind of upset, that it’s just regular operations,” said Foster. “The kids are just out walking around and it’s like dude, this is my kid now. I never thought it would happen in Marion.”

Although the guns used airsoft pellets, and there were no serious injuries, the threat is still very real and terrifying for parents

“It feels like that’s just practice,” said Foster. “This is so easy right here. So, I’m wondering what’s going to happen going forward, to make sure that our kids are going to be safe. To make sure my child is going to be safe, everyone’s child is going to be safe here.”

Related story:

Marion, Ill., authorities respond to airsoft drive-by shooting at junior high 

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