Carroll County Times

Manchester police warn that water gun game played by Carroll County high school seniors could be dangerous

Thank you for supporting our journalism. This article is available exclusively for our subscribers, who help fund our work at The Baltimore Sun.

A Carroll County high school tradition of playing water gun games in which students attempt to eliminate seniors on an opposing teams by spraying them with water has become alarming to local police, as participants have reportedly begun modifying water guns to make them look more like realistic guns, and casual observers may not immediately understand the nature of the activity, according to a police statement shared May 4 on the Hampstead Facebook page.

An armed individual was reported to the Manchester Police Department on the morning of May 4, police said, which prompted officers from the Manchester and Hampstead police departments to respond to the call. The individual was a Manchester Valley High student armed with a water gun waiting to ambush a “Water Wars” rival, police said.


The informal game will likely continue for the next two weeks, according to the police statement, and officials are urging parents to discuss water gun safety with their children.

“Our School Security Office is aware of the issue,” Carroll County Public Schools communications coordinator Brenda Bowers said in an email. “Earlier in the week they notified the school directors, who in turn shared the information with school principals.”


Carroll County Public Schools does not sponsor the water gun game and has no role in organizing the community activity, CCPS communications officer Carey Gaddis said.

“We’ve made our principals aware of it and our school directors,” Gaddis said. “They know to be aware, and then if something happens we can take disciplinary action.”

The game occurs before and after school hours. According to police, students have been reported sneaking around wearing dark clothing, sometimes on private property, to complete objectives in the Water Wars game. This is especially dangerous when the individual is armed with a water gun that has been painted black and had its orange tip removed, police said.

“This behavior could easily be perceived as violent criminal behavior armed with a gun and life threatening to someone who is unknowing, ultimately causing a reaction by unwitting citizens and or police. The reaction/response could have a catastrophic outcome,” the police department statement said.