Santa's helper shot on toy giveaway in Washington

The man dressed as Santa was shot in the back with a pellet gun

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A Santa's helper delivering toys in the US city of Washington has been shot in the back with a pellet gun.

As a TV crew videoed him in the street, he said "Merry..." before staggering in pain as the pellet hit.

The man, who has not been named and is recovering in hospital, initially said he wanted to carry on with the giveaway but paramedics stepped in and took him away in an ambulance.

A Grinch character then saved Christmas by stepping in to deliver the gifts.

On the video posted on the website of WJLA-TV, the man waves as he walks down the street.

He says: "This is awesome, Merry..." but then recoils in pain.

"Someone's shooting. Someone just shot me."

He recovers to say, "I'm glad I got hit and nobody else go hurt", before being taken to hospital. A man dressed as the green-clothed Dr Seuss character then took over.

ABC reported that the man would be out of hospital on Christmas Eve after the pellet was removed.

Its reporter quoted witnesses as saying two shots were fired from a second-floor window of a home, but no-one has yet been arrested.

Police are investigating the incident.

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