An unsuspecting Santa was shot in the back on Christmas Eve at a toy giveaway in Washington, D.C., but the real surprise might be who came to his aid.
The man dressed as Kris Kringle was talking to an ABC7 photographer when, according to a statement from DC Metropolitan Police, “he heard a popping sound and felt a sharp pain in his body.”
Witnesses say they heard two shots that police believe came from a second-story window in the southeast corridor neighborhood. The preliminary investigation confirms that a pellet gun was fired at his upper back, lodging a pellet into his shoulder.
No one has come forward with any information identifying the pellet shooter, according to officials.
Santa wanted to continue handing out toys, a job he’s done for the last seven years, but paramedics insisted he be transported immediately by ambulance to a local hospital.
Even still, Santa maintained his cheery Christmas spirit, shouting “Ho, ho, ho” and “Merry Christmas” at passersby.
In a shocking twist, it was the Grinch that continued handing out toys in Santa’s absence.
“This year I decided to give back. My heart grew three times,” the Grinch told ABC News, adding, “I did not shoot Santa.”
And as for the man dressed as Santa, he’s just glad no one else was injured during the incident.
“I’m glad I got hit and no one else got hurt, I really am,” he said, “For real. I mean, that’s real.”