Homeless man arrested in shooting incident


ELKINS — A homeless man is facing a felony charge after being accused of shooting a firearm at another man in the parking lot of the Four Seasons Motel late Tuesday afternoon.

William Schmuff III, 54, is charged with wanton endangerment involving a firearm and is currently being held in the Tygarts Valley Regional Jail on a $50,000 cash-only bond.

Elkins Police Chief Travis Bennett said in a press release Wednesday that “the shots-fired incident that occurred in Elkins last night started as a verbal altercation between the suspect and the victim that escalated into the suspect firing a handgun at the victim.

“Officers were able to locate the suspect, William Schmuff III, in an apartment and take him into custody,” Bennett said in the release. “While inside the apartment, officers observed evidence of drug activity. Officers obtained a search warrant for the apartment and subsequently located several containers of methamphetamine. William Schmuff III is charged with wanton endangerment and possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine.”

According to the criminal complaint, prepared by Senior Patrolman K.A. Shiflett of the Elkins Police Department, on Tuesday law enforcement responded to a call at the Four Seasons Motel located at 1091 Harrison Avenue in reference to shots fired.

Upon arriving, officers cordoned off the area of the motel in order to prevent any incidents involving cars passing by on Harrison Avenue. Officers then observed a .380 shell casing laying on the ground in the parking lot, the complaint states. Beside the casing was a small yellow bag containing a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana.

At the scene the alleged victim told officers that Schmuff had fired a firearm at him after a verbal altercation, according to the complaint. Officers began going door-to-door at the motel and were able to determine that Schmuff had been staying in his vehicle, a gold/silver Dodge Stratus, in the parking lot of the hotel in close vicinity to Apartment 18.

Officers searched an apartment after the woman living there gave her signed consent. During the search Schmuff was located in the bathroom of the apartment and was detained, the complaint states.

While detaining Schmuff, officers also saw a pouch which was inside of a cup in a trash can in the bathroom, the complaint states. The pouch contained three red and clear in color bags containing a white crystal-like substance believed to be methamphetamine, a box for a digital scale, and multiple other bags which were similar to the bags containing the possible methamphetamine.

Upon obtaining and executing a search warrant, officers found a .380 round of ammunition laying on clothes on the floor near a table, according to the complaint. Officers then searched a cigarette pack located on the coffee table which contained two more bags containing a white crystal-like substance and 11 empty bags similar to the bags that contained the possible methamphetamine. Officers also located a black digital scale inside of a nightstand drawer near the bed.

Officers performed a gunshot residue kit for both Schmuff and a female witness who told police she brought the gun to Schmuff during the verbal altercation, court documents state. A written statement from the witness also claimed that one of the two males pulled out a knife.

Schmuff was transported to the Elkins Police Department for processing, and then transported to the Tygarts Valley Regional Jail, according to the complaint. While being searched by TVRJ staff, five .380 blazer rounds were located on Schmuff’s person.

Officers packaged the gunshot residue kits and the suspected methamphetamine to be sent to the West Virginia State Police Crime Lab for forensic analysis and drug identification purposes, the complaint states.

If convicted of the felony charge Schmuff could face anywhere from one to five years in jail.


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