Teen Shot and Paralyzed in Walmart Parking Lot

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Anakin Zehring, a high school senior aged 18 from Goddard, Kansas, was paralyzed from the waist down following an incident that took place in a Walmart parking lot on May 11, 2024. The unfortunate event occurred while Zehring and his friends were engaging in a game called “Senior Assassin,” which has been a subject of controversy, involving tagging targets with toy guns.

The game “Senior Assassin” has been making headlines across the country, triggering warnings from law enforcement agencies about its potential risks. The authorities are worried that the toy guns used in the game could be mistaken for real weapons, leading to potentially life-threatening scenarios.

Court documents along with several news outlets report that Zehring and his friends were parked outside the Walmart when they noticed two teenagers approaching the store. As part of the game, they executed a drive-by shooting using gel blasters, with one of them yelling, “I am your senior assassin.” The girl and her boyfriend, hit by the water-filled polymer beads, quickly ran into the Walmart for safety.

The girl promptly contacted her father, Ruben Marcus Contreras, about the incident. Contreras, 47, arrived at the Walmart armed with a 9mm Smith and Wesson handgun. Upon his arrival, he confronted Zehring who was trying to leave the parking lot in his Chevy Spark. In the ensuing confrontation, Contreras fired a single shot into Zehring’s car.

Video evidence from the scene showed Contreras rushing towards the driver’s side of Zehring’s car, attempting to open the door. He subsequently pulled out his gun and fired one shot into the vehicle.

The bullet inflicted serious damage, including a punctured duodenum and spinal cord injury, rendering Zehring paralyzed from the waist down. He was initially admitted in critical condition but was later moved to a rehabilitation facility. On May 15, Contreras was arrested and charged with attempted first-degree murder. He was subsequently released on a $300,000 bail.

Although the “Senior Assassin” game is seen as a harmless tradition marking the end of high school, it has been criticized for its ability to lead to serious harm.

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