A lone shooter killed 15 in a bloody Christmas Eve massacre at the North Pole, sparking pandemonium when he lobbed a smoke bomb into a reindeer pen and opened fire from the roof atop Santa’s workshop.
North Pole law enforcement officials said the suspect in the shooting is Rudolph L. May, though many used to laugh and call him “Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer,” or “the 9th reindeer.”
RIGHT: (Click image to enlarge.)
Fifteen flying reindeer were killed in the attack, and 3 Christmas elves were treated for minor gunshot wounds. Dozens of others were injured, most of whom were treated for the effects of tear gas, said officials at St. Nicholas Memorial Hospital.
“This is a horrendous event,” Police Chief Clement Moore told a hastily gathered news conference. He had initially put the death toll at 13, but later confirmed that the toll had been revised to 15.
When the shooter stopped to reload his weapon, he said, North Pole police officers converged on the red-nosed reindeer, wrestling him to the ground. He was taken into custody in the feed lot behind Santa’s workshop without further incident.
Police said the North Pole shooter apparently worked alone. He had appeared on a roof to the side of the reindeer pen and released a canister that let out a hissing sound shortly before gunfire erupted.
Dasher was waiting for his friend Dancer near the watering trough when the shooting began.
“I noticed someone had closed the gate,” said Dancer. “I heard prancing and pawing on the roof, someone threw something across the yard, and my eyes started watering. That’s when shooting started out on the lawn. There arose such a clatter.”
One Christmas elf was quoted as saying he saw a red-nosed reindeer slowly making his way from “the top of the porch to the top of the wall,” picking off the other reindeer at random.
Racer, a second-string reindeer, had been waiting nearby with his girlfriend. He said that a couple of minutes before feeding time, he saw a cloud of “ashes and soot” appear and heard what sounded like fireworks. He realized when he saw several panicked reindeer take to the skies that it had been a rapid burst of gunfire.
“Away they all flew like the down of a thistle, but I told Pacer to play dead,” said Racer, adding that he never got a good look at the shooter. “All I could see was a faint red glow and the silhouette of antlers against the moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow. Elves were running this way and that, screaming.”
One Christmas elf told reporters that he and several of his coworkers were busy assembling toy guns in the workshop when they heard shots fired, and the shop began to fill with thick, choking smoke.
“Away to the window I flew like a flash,” he said. He looked outside and saw bullet holes in Santa’s sleigh, and he knew some elves in the adjacent bakery were wounded. “I heard screams … they were clearly in pain.”
North Pole Police said they received the first call about the shooting at 6:02 P.M. local time and responded “in a twinkling.”
St. Nicholas Memorial Hospital was alerted to a “mass casualty incident.” Police Chief Moore said that 13 of the reindeer died outside Santa’s workshop, and 2 died at the hospital.
Santa Claus temporarily suspended all reindeer games. He urged all members of the community to “stand together” in the long hours to come.