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Man shot in the head with a BB gun in Fredericksburg

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The father of a baby who showed up at a local hospital last week with multiple fractures has been charged with shooting a BB gun into the face of the man accused of hurting the baby, police said.

The incident involving Christopher Williams, 22, and William Schmuhl, 23, occurred on Dec. 14, several days before the injuries to the baby were discovered, city police spokeswoman Natatia Bledsoe said.

According to police, Schmuhl was at Sunoco Gas at 2307 Jefferson Davis Highway that afternoon when he was approached by Williams, who police said shot Schmuhl in the face and head three times with a BB gun.

It was not clear what led to that confrontation, but family members said the two men had been at odds for some time. Schmuhl at the time was living in the nearby Dunning Mills Inn with Williams’ former girlfriend, who is the mother of his baby.

Schmuhl was treated for his injuries at Mary Washington Hospital. Police later searched Williams’ Fredericksburg home and charged him with aggravated malicious wounding, a charge that carries a penalty of between 20 years to life in prison. Williams is being held without bond in the Rappahannock Regional Jail.

Prior to being arrested, Williams and the baby’s maternal grandmother, Delphine Timberlake, took the baby to Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center Dec. 17 after Timberlake said she noticed that the child seemed to be having problems breathing and had been coughing excessively.

X-rays showed that the 4-month-old boy had multiple rib fractures, along with a broken arm and skull fractures. The child was later taken to Chippenham Hospital in Richmond and was supposed to be released to Timberlake Monday, the grandmother said.

Schmuhl, who had been babysitting the child, was charged with felony child abuse and is in jail under a $10,000 bond.

Timberlake said her daughter, Ashley K. Clark—the baby’s mother—had taken the baby to Mary Washington Hospital the previous day and was sent home with orders to give the baby Tylenol. Timberlake said she and her daughter thought the baby was sick, but had no idea that he had fractured bones.

City police list the date of the offense against Schmuhl as Dec. 16, meaning that’s when they suspect the abuse took place.

Clark had been arrested in July for an assault against Williams when they were living together at the Commons at Cowan Boulevard next to the city police station. That charge was later dropped.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

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