Georgia police chief told 911 he accidentally shot wife, investigators say

Posted at 1:11 PM, Jan 01, 2015
By Ralph Ellis


(CNN) — Magazines and websites regularly rank Peachtree City, Georgia, as one of the best places to live and raise a family. The community’s trademark: Residents putter around in golf carts on the community’s 90-plus miles of paved pathways.

But on the first day of 2015, the town of 35,000 people south of Atlanta was known for something else.

The man tasked with keeping the peace in Peachtree City, Police Chief William McCollom, was being investigated in a shooting that left his wife in critical condition.

Authorities aren’t revealing many details, but they said McCollom shot Margaret McCollom with his service Glock 9mm a few hours before dawn inside the couple’s bedroom.

The chief told 911 it was an accident, said Sherry Lang, spokeswoman for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

No charges have been filed.

Margaret McCollom was taken by helicopter to Atlanta Medical Center, where she was listed in critical condition, according to a statement from police spokesman Lt. Mark Brown.

Fayette County District Attorney Scott Ballard said at a press conference that he won’t decide whether charges should be filed until the GBI presents him with an investigation report.

“We have no leanings one way or the other at this point because we just don’t know,” Ballard said. “As soon as all the facts are known they’ll turn over a file to our office, and we’ll review to see if in fact there’s been any criminal activity.”

McCollom is fully cooperating with authorities, Lang said. He’s the one who called 911. Margaret McCollum has not been interviewed, she said.

Chief McCollom was placed on administrative leave and the GBI took over the investigation.

Lang declined to comment when asked whether alcohol played a part in the incident, saying that’s part of the investigation that cannot be revealed yet.

Lang said the investigation determined that Margaret McCollom was shot once.

“The initial reports that we got from a 911 call were that the chief had shot his wife, accidentally, twice. As a result of our preliminary interview, we have found that he only shot her one time,” she said.

Brown said Peachtree City officers were called to the home at 4:17 a.m. and immediately realized it was their boss’s house. The GBI was quickly called in to lead the investigation.

Brown said he knew of no previous disciplinary actions against the chief.

McCollom was well-liked by officers in the department, Brown said. He said his co-workers are worried about the chief and his wife.

“The department is hurting at this point,” Brown said.

McCollom was named the police chief in October after being interim chief for three months, reported CNN affiliate WSB.

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