Teen paralyzed playing ‘assassins game’ after being shot by angry father

GODDARD, KS – A high school prank turned tragic last month when a teenager was shot and paralyzed in a Walmart parking lot, according to a recently filed affidavit.

Sedgwick County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a shooting outside the Goddard Walmart just before 5 p.m. on May 11. They discovered 18-year-old Anakin Zehring with a gunshot wound to his back, which damaged his liver, kidney, and spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. Zehring’s parents detailed his severe injuries and ongoing recovery efforts on a GoFundMe page.

The incident began as a game of “senior assassin,” a social media-driven activity where high school seniors target each other with water guns and gel-bead guns. Zehring and his friends allegedly shot a gel-bead gun at two other teenagers, a 17-year-old girl identified as S.C. and her boyfriend, G.B., outside the Walmart.

S.C. called her father, Ruben Marcus Contreras, to report the incident. Contreras then drove to the Walmart, located Zehring and his friends in their car, and allegedly fired a handgun into the vehicle, striking Zehring. Contreras has been charged with first-degree attempted murder and was released on bond.

Witnesses reported hearing the teenagers shout, “I’m your senior assassin,” before shooting the gel blaster. A Walmart employee and the store manager intervened, escorting the teenagers outside. The shooting occurred shortly after, as S.C. and G.B. pointed out the teenagers to Contreras in the parking lot.

A witness recounted seeing Contreras approach the teens’ vehicle and heard a gunshot as the car attempted to drive away. The vehicle then sped off and crashed into a metal shipping container. The witness approached Contreras, who reportedly said, “They shot my daughter,” multiple times.

Zehring, found in the vehicle, told the witness he could not feel his legs. The case has sparked discussions about the dangers of social media challenges and the severe consequences they can have.