A new social media challenge involving people putting buckets on the heads of strangers and filming their reactions went horribly wrong when a woman in Tustin fainted after a group of young men targeted her.
The incident happened Sunday afternoon at a Target store in Tustin.
Lana Clay-Monaghan, a new mom of twin boys, said she was shopping for baby supplies when she was caught completely off guard by four teenage boys who tossed a bucket over her head and then started recording. They eventually ran out of the store.
“I was looking at some baby soap. I leaned down and my whole world changed,” Clay-Monaghan told KTLA. “Everything went quiet, dark and there was really no air. I flipped off what was put over me, around my neck, and I turned around and looked over my left shoulder. To my dismay, it was a group of individuals who were filming me, seemingly for some sort of prank or maybe for something like TikTok.”
A 30-year cancer survivor, Clay-Monaghan says she developed epilepsy later in life and the assault deprived her of air. She fainted soon after the incident and was rushed to UC Irvine Medical Center.
She says the incident had a physical and psychological impact.
“I keep looking over my shoulder. I’m a nervous wreck,” she said. “I cannot believe that in my community you could go to Target, be in Target maybe a mere 10 to 15 minutes and someone would find it amusing to come and strategically find a female by herself in the baby aisle and think this would be funny or laughable for likes.”
Tustin Police, who are reviewing surveillance video from the Target to identify the four young men, believe the stunt is something called the “stranger bucket challenge,” which is trending on social media platforms like TikTok.
“Obviously, in this case, it can have some pretty bad consequences, but at the end of the day it’s a crime,” Lt. Ryan Co with Tustin PD said. “It’s an assault and battery on another person and we’re going to investigate it that way.”
For Clay-Monaghan, who said she’s still recovering from the incident, the neurological side effects are anything but funny.
“This needs to be an example that families can talk about now and say, ‘Look, you see this on social media, it’s not appropriate to do that,’ and again, those individuals need to come forward and be held accountable,” she said.
So far, police said they have not come across any social media posts of this particular incident, and while they’re reviewing surveillance video, they are also collecting witness statements.