Two men hospitalized after early-morning fight

Two men hospitalized after early-morning fight

REDDING, Calif. - A confrontation in Redding turned violent early Sunday morning and ended with two men sent to the hospital, one in critical condition.

Redding police got the call just after 12:45 a.m. from the area of Elmwood and Veda Streets near South Market Street.

Due to a previous incident which tied up all patrol units, the California Highway Patrol initially responded, with Redding police officers delayed by nearly half-an-hour.

Officers learned that two men, 29-year-old John Fritz and 48-year-old Claude Schmies, had been found injured in the street following a fight. Both were taken to the hospital.

Police said Fritz is currently on state parole while Schmies is under AB109 supervised release.

The incident apparently started when Fritz and Schmeis were driving in the area and nearly made contact with two other men, 22-year-old Richard Hiers and 19-year-old Nathan Byers. Hiers is on Shasta County probation.

Police said the two groups exchanged words before Schmies, the driver, stopped the vehicle, threw it in reverse, and backed up toward Hiers and Byers.

According to reports, a fight ensued and during the melee Fritz and Schmies were both knocked to the ground unconscious.

That's when Hiers and Byers ran to a nearby home and asked a friend to call 911.

Later on Sunday a neighbor said he witnessed the tail-end of the fight and saw someone kick one of the downed men in the face.

Hiers and Byers cooperated with police and neither were arrested.

Investigators also obtained surveillance video of the fight.

The case will be forwarded to the Shasta County District Attorney's Office for review.

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