Georgia police chief says accidentally shot, critically hurt wife

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 01, 2015 3:03 PM

By David Beasley

ATLANTA (Reuters) - A suburban Atlanta police chief on Thursday shot his wife and critically wounded her in what he described as an accidental discharge of his service weapon at the couple's home, officials said.

Peachtree City Police Chief William McCollom, who has been placed on administrative leave while the shooting is investigated, called 911 to report the shooting before dawn, Peachtree City Police Lieutenant Mark Brown said at a news conference.

The shooting occurred in the couple's bedroom, and although McCollom initially told a 911 operator he had shot his wife twice by accident, an initial assessment from the scene indicates that he only fired once, said Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Sherry Lang.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is overseeing the probe into the shooting and its investigators plan to turn over their findings to the local district attorney.

McCollom's wife was taken by emergency helicopter in critical condition to an Atlanta hospital, Brown said.

"The department's hurting at this point, we're very concerned for, obviously, his wife, we're concerned for the chief," he told reporters.

Investigators have not yet spoken to the wife, Lang said.

The service weapon involved in the shooting was Brown's Glock 17 9 mm handgun, Brown said.

McCollom, who has been the police chief of the Atlanta suburb of Peachtree City for about a year, is cooperating with investigators, said Lang, who added that she could not at this stage reveal many details about the shooting.

District Attorney Scott Ballard said his office will bring charges if a crime is found to have occurred.

"We have no leanings one way or another at this point because we just don’t know," he said.

(Reporting by David Beasley, Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis, Editing by Barbara Goldberg and James Dalgleish)