Suburban Atlanta police chief says he was moving gun when he shot his sleeping wife

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 02, 2015 4:53 PM

By David Beasley

ATLANTA (Reuters) - A suburban Atlanta police chief told a 911 emergency dispatcher that he accidentally shot his wife, critically wounding her, on New Year's Day after moving his loaded work pistol while she slept in their bed.

“Gunshot wound, accidental, need medical ASAP,” Peachtree City Police Chief William McCollom said in an emergency call recording released on Friday.

“The gun was in the bed and I tried to move it, put it to the side, and then it went off," he told the dispatcher during a call placed at about 4 a.m. local time.

McCollom, who has been the police chief of the Atlanta suburb for about a year, was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into the shooting. He has not been charged with a crime and is cooperating with investigators, said Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Sherry Lang.

McCollom’s wife, Margaret McCollom, 58, was flown by helicopter to a local hospital. She will be interviewed once her medical condition improves, the state investigation bureau said in a statement on Friday.

Police said she was shot in the back by her husband's department-issued handgun. William McCollom identified himself as the chief of police during the 911 call.

“Is that her crying?” a dispatcher asked.

“Yes, she’s having trouble breathing,” McCollom said.

The dispatcher told McCollom to apply direct pressure to his wife's wound.

“Are you all right?" the chief asked his wife. "I know you’re not all right. Are you still breathing?”

(Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Will Dunham)