'Santa Claus Shooter' ordered to stand trial

The so-called"Santa Claus shooter" will be headed to trial for shooting two men at a Detroit gas station.
The "Santa Claus Shooter' will be headed to trial.

Marcus Weldon is accused of shooting two people at a Speedway gas station in Detroit.

Weldon, 26, was wearing a Santa Claus suit when he shot two men, is charged with two counts each of assault with intent to murder, assault with intent to do great bodily harm, felonious assault and felony firearm.

He learned Thursday that he will stand trial in Wayne County Circuit Court.

"If a person fires a firearm, it is to kill," said Judge Michael Wagner.

Both his family and church leaders have come forward to speak on his behalf, saying that he was acting in self-defense and coming to the aid of a co-worker.

"The defendant fired at two unarmed individuals hitting both of them," said Kelly Casper, Wayne County assistant prosecutor. "To the point where one is still unable to come to court."

One of the men Weldon shot, Salah Rifai, says he and his friend, Omar Patty - who remains hospitalized - were shot after accidentally bumping into the woman Weldon was with.

They then got into an argument with Weldon.

"I see the defendant's gun pointing dead at us, bullets flying," Rifai said. "One of the bullets ripped my arm right off the steering wheel."

Also testifying was an off-duty officer who backed up Rifai's story. He said  Weldon was the only one firing a gun. 

But Weldon's attorney David Cripps says Weldon was acting in self-defense, had a license to carry, and was protecting a female friend. 

While Cripps did not call any witnesses Thursday -- he does say much more evidence needs to be seen.

"There obviously is other evidence like 911 calls that will come out at trial which indicates there was more than one person with a firearm shooting that night," Cripps said.

Weldon is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 29. His attorney says Weldon will likely take the witness stand.

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