NEW: "Santa," identified as Xavier Hawkins, was not seriously hurt
He was giving away gifts to needy children when he was shot
He was hit with what appeared to be a shot from a pellet gun
Someone dressed as the Grinch continued the toy giveaway
A man dressed as Santa Claus and giving away gifts to needy children in Washington was shot by a pellet gun Tuesday in the midst of his rounds, according to police.
“Somebody just shot me! My back! Someone shot me with a pellet gun,” the man, later identified as Xavier Hawkins, said in video recorded by CNN affiliate WJLA, before he knelt in obvious pain.
Paramedics took the man to a hospital for treatment but the wound wasn’t serious and he was later released.
Santa was right about what happened, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump said, adding that the preliminary investigation suggests the assailant did use a pellet gun in the attack.
WJLA reported Santa wanted to continue with the toy giveaway, as many boys and girls still hadn’t received their gifts, but paramedics insisted he go to the hospital.
Standing nearby, the Grinch (or someone dressed like him, anyway), continued the giveaway while Santa was taken away.
“I just thank God that I’m alive,” Hawkins told WJLA after his release from the hospital. “I’m very grateful no one else got hit, especially the kids.”
Police were investigating the incident Tuesday afternoon and didn’t say whether any suspects had been identified.
WJLA also reported Hawkins is planning to participate in the toy giveaway again next year and said he has already forgiven the attacker.