A man dressed in a Santa Claus suit accused of shooting two men over the weekend at a Detroit gas station was acting in defense of a co-worker who was dressed as Mrs. Claus, his attorney said on Tuesday.
Marcus Weldon, 26, faces multiple assault charges, including assault with intent to murder, as a result of the shooting, which wounded two men early Sunday. Weldon’s attorney, Gabi Silver, pleaded not guilty on Weldon’s behalf at a hearing on Tuesday.
Silver told Judge Michael Wagner that Weldon was acting in defense of a woman. Silver later told reporters the woman was his co-worker, who was dressed as Mrs. Claus and had possibly been pushed by one of the men.
Silver said Weldon and his co-worker were dressed as the Clauses for a party at the MGM Grand Casino in downtown Detroit, where they both work.
“They were just getting off work, no alcohol was involved,” Silver told reporters. “This was a situation that started off ugly and just got uglier.”
Violence erupted when Weldon, dressed as Santa Claus, got into a heated verbal exchange with one of the men, a gas station customer, prosecutors said. Weldon fired several shots, wounding the man and a passenger in his car, prosecutors said.
Weldon fled the scene, but was taken into police custody nearby shortly after the incident.
The shooting victims were hospitalized. As of Tuesday, one of the victims remained in the hospital and the other victim has been released.
Silver said Weldon has no prior record and was licensed to carry a concealed weapon. When he’s not playing Santa, Weldon works as an electrician apprentice at the casino, Silver said.
Wagner set a bond of $50,000. The next hearing will be Jan. 5.