A man dressed as Santa Claus was recovering after being shot with a pellet gun on Tuesday at a toy giveaway in Washington. A local news crew was interviewing the unnamed man at the time of the Christmas Eve shooting in the capital’s Southeast district. The man was struck in the upper back and could be seen bending over, reaching for his back and screaming out in pain after loud popping sounds. “It’s a pellet gun,” he said. “Someone’s shooting. Someone just shot me,” the man added. Police said the man was transported to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. WJLA, whose cameraman was on the scene, said the giveaway carried on. The station reported that the man wanted to keep giving out toys, but he was ordered to hospital and a man dressed as the Grinch took over.
Newborns put in stockings
California hospitals are spreading holiday cheer for new parents by delivering newborns in giant Christmas stockings. The bright red stockings were provided this week for babies born at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center in Redlands, California. The Long Beach Press Telegram said it was a half-century-old tradition. The Redlands Community Hospital has been handing out stockings to parents of infants born this month. This year, 16 volunteers made 250 fleece stockings during a day-long sewing bee.
Decorations spark panic
An Atlanta, Georgia, homeowner says he hopes he did not offend anyone with his Christmas decoration of a mannequin with outstretched arms entangled in a string of Christmas lights and clinging to a ledge that prompted an emergency response to his house. Bubba Murphy Lake told WSB-TV that someone passing the house in Berkeley Lake with their children thought the display looked so realistic that they called the emergency fire dispatcher. He says fire officials told him to take the display down — at least temporarily. The display also had a ladder toppled over in the front yard.
Lottery winners freed
Police say they have freed a kidnapped lottery winner of more than US$3 million whose captors were demanding a ransom of about US$200,000. Inspector Antonio de Olimin told the G1 news portal that a 43-year-old bricklayer who won the lottery about three months ago and his brother were kidnapped on Monday in the Sao Paulo suburb of Guarulhos. He said police on Tuesday discovered the house where the two brothers were being held hostage while investigating a gang of bank and cargo truck robbers. Olimin says one suspected kidnapper was killed in a shootout with police and another was arrested. The two brothers were freed unhurt.
Torrential rain kills 14
President Dilma Rousseff on Tuesday flew over the flood-hit state of Espirito Santo, where at least 14 people have died in days of torrential rain. A Civil Defense statement raised the death toll to 14 and said nearly 50,000 people were forced to leave their homes. It said 47 cities in Espirito Santo, which borders Rio de Janeiro State, were affected by the flooding, including many left without communications, drinkable water and power. Rousseff said two helicopters and army trucks would be sent to the area to deliver food and medicine to those affected. “The tragedy in Espirito Santo destroyed homes, roads and dreams. We are going to try to rebuild them,” the president said.