MERRIMACK — Local police are warning Merrimack High School students participating in a game of “Assassins” to think harder after two players were involved in a motor-vehicle collision on Wednesday.
The game, which involves students stalking and shooting human targets with water guns, could go too far and may lead to tragedy, said police and school officials.
“It can have very serious consequences,” Principal Kenneth Johnson of Merrimack High School said Thursday. “But I don’t want this reflect badly on our students. This is not exclusive to Merrimack High School.”
Johnson stressed that the game is played off campus, and that “Assassins” is not condoned by the school administration, nor is it an activity associated with any high school class.
The game’s popularity has grown throughout the nation and gets going with the warmer weather. While rules vary, the activity is well organized with different layers, said Johnson. He said the game — if it goes too far — could potentially be in violation of certain laws.
Merrimack police agree, and they issued a warning via social media outlets on Thursday encouraging participants to use common sense and avoid reckless situations while playing the game.
On Wednesday evening, two participants collided their vehicles while trying to eliminate an opponent, said Capt. Peter Albert.
“We are investigating to determine if any reckless driving was involved, and if charges could be brought forward,” said Albert.
Police said the incident was “a serious error in judgment, and the involved parties are extremely lucky that no one was seriously injured during the collision.”
Authorities stressed that they will prosecute any reported infractions during the game, including trespass and assault.
In past years, Albert said citizens were reporting suspicious individuals in their yards at night, which turned out to be teens climbing fences and cutting through yards to ambush fellow players. While the senior class organizes the game and is aware of its guidelines and rules, Albert said that the rest of the community may not be familiar with what is taking place.
Johnson said a water gun could be misinterpreted as a real weapon. Johnson said he was pleased that local police issued the warning. He plans on addressing the student body, again emphasizing the potential dangers and reiterating that any student found playing the game on school grounds could be punished for violating school policy.
“Use common sense and don’t put yourself in a reckless situation,” said Albert.