Panama City Beach man accused of shaking, seriously injuring baby


PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — A Panama City Beach man is charged with aggravated child abuse after he allegedly shook a baby who wouldn’t stop crying.

Justin Merritt, 27, of the 7000 block of Patronis Drive, called 911 on August 25 saying his baby was acting strange. The baby was taken to a local hospital and the rushed to Sacred Heart in Escambia County for severe head trauma.

Deputies said Merritt admitted that he shook the baby when he was crying. The baby was “extra fussy” because Merritt could not make him a bottle because the water was not working in his apartment complex, Merritt said according to his arrest affidavit.

“Justin said the baby was not looking at him so he shook the baby to get his attention,” deputies wrote. “Justin said that he shook the baby for a while and then realized the baby was not responding.”

A doctor in Escambia County told deputies the baby suffered from bilateral retinal hemorrhaging due to hard shaking for at least 20 minutes, according to the arrest affidavit. The doctor added that there was old hemorrhaging and new hemorrhaging which means the baby was shook more than once, the affidavit states.

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