Santa Shot in DC

A man dressed as Santa was shot in the back with a pellet gun while handing out presents to underprivileged children in Southeast DC. Naturally.

A man dressed as Santa was shot in the back with a pellet gun while handing out presents to underprivileged children in Southeast DC. Naturally.

WJLA/ABC 7 (“Xavier Hawkins, “Southeast Santa,” shot with pellet gun at toy giveaway“):

A man in a Santa Claus suit who has been identified as Xavier Hawkins was shot in the back with a pellet gun Tuesday morning during a toy giveaway in a part of Southeast Washington plagued by crime.

The video is disturbing. The man dressed as Santa has led the annual Barry Farm gift giveaway for the last seven years, and according to an ABC7 photographer who was interviewing the victim at the time of the shooting, the he was struck in his upper back then transported to a nearby hospital with the pellet still lodged in his shoulder.

Later on Tuesday, we saw Xavier Hawkins again after he was released from the hospital. He showed us the tear in his Santa suit as well as the scene of the depraved crime:

“Oh, here’s the hole. That’s where I got shot — right there.”

In the video, you can hear Hawkins’ booming voice faltering after being hit. It was an act of violence appalling on more levels than we can fathom.

“It’s sad news, but I’m not surprised with what’s going on around here,” said SE resident Tasharn Richardson.


Even as paramedics treated his wounds, “Santa” stayed remarkably festive – in fact, he wanted to stay and give out gifts, but medics said no.

So this year, a D.C. ambulance replaced the sleigh in Southeast.

“It”s all good, it’s not going to stop the show,” said Hawkins.

At least — not with the families of 600 children waiting for 1,800 donated toys. Thanks to the Grinch, Christmas was saved at Barry Farm.

“This year, I decided to give back. My heart grew three times,” said the man dressed up as the famous Christmas antihero.

Seriously, what’s wrong with people?

FILED UNDER: Crime, Quick Takes
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    So the war on Xmas is real after all? As to what is wrong with people James, I have to say that I see this kind of senseless violence as being a uniquely American thing. Let’s start with that.

  2. ernieyeball says:

    Seriously, what’s wrong with people?

    The same thing that is right with them…they’re human.

  3. ernieyeball says:

    this kind of senseless violence as being a uniquely American thing.

    You are going to have to help me here. Some senseless violence is different than other senseless violence?

    As the mob set fire to more than 100 homes not marked with a Buddhist flag,..

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @ernieyeball: If you can’t tell, I can’t help you. Senseless random violence is a daily occurrence in this country. Guns are not the problem, they are the tool. The problem is deep in the American psych and evinced by the NRA’s calls for more guns as tho that would stem the violence. Remember what happened in Newtown? Remember what happened in China the same day? I doubt it. The NRA would call that “Mission Accomplished”. As a society we worship violence (look at our movies) and we bow down before the tools of it (guns, knives, swords, maces, etc) (yes, there is an active market in medieval tools of war in this country) (Hells bells, I know people who have built trebuchets). We are a sick, sick, people trapped in a 14th century mindset with 21st century tools of violence. Europeans do not have this problem.

    For the record, I do own guns (for whatever it is worth, not of military type) and yes, I do like me some “Die Hard” and “Pulp Fiction” on occasion. So even as I loath the idea of taking a human life, I doubt I am immune to the virus of violence that infects this country.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @ernieyeball: And there is a difference between sectarian conflict and the shooting of a man dressed as Santa giving out toys to children. Just as there is a difference between a suicide bomber and a drug addict robbing a liquor store. Again, if you can’t tell the difference, I can’t help you.

  6. Tillman says:


    Europeans do not have this problem.

    I disagree, but their tendencies are muted in my opinion because they fought two world wars and destroyed their own continent already.

  7. ernieyeball says:

    The people who were killed in “The Troubles” that plagued Northern Ireland for 30 years are just as dead as the DC Santa. He’s just as dead as a liquor store clerk killed in a hold up by a junky.
    I don’t think a killers motivation means much to the corpses.

  8. Brett says:

    You always get shitheads who think this type of thing is hilarious. “Hur hur hur I shot Santa Claus in the back!” You know, the type of assholes who pull unpleasant pranks and then do that defensive, “Hey man, chill, it was just a joke!” speech when they get called on it.

  9. ernieyeball says:

    @ernieyeball: Sorry kids. Didn’t mean to scare you. DC Santa is still alive. Apparently I can’t read.

  10. Mike says:

    I didn’t know Sharkeisha was back on the streets.

  11. al-Ameda says:

    The Second Amendment does not take a holiday.

  12. Grewgills says:

    They are making pellet guns better than when I was a kid. I remember having bb gun and pellet gun wars when I was a kid*. It stung like hell when I got hit, but none of us ever had to go to the hospital.

    *We also shot each other with bottle rockets, roman candles, and threw packs of lit lady fingers and jumping jacks at each other. Come to think of it, it is a wonder we made it through our childhoods relatively unscathed.

  13. Matt says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Oh it’s not uniquely American but we certainly are good at it.

    @Grewgills: I don’t know how old you are but I remember some pellet guns in the 80s could be used for hunting. My young uncle had a BB gun that was modeled after a m16 (no orange on it) that if you pumped it enough you could break skin.

  14. Grewgills says:

    It was the 70s and 80s. Maybe we just had cheap guns; we were kids.