ATLANTA (AP) — A suburban Atlanta sheriff who shot and critically injured a woman says the victim is a dear friend and that he's been focused on supporting her family since the shooting.
Police have said real estate agent Gwenevere McCord, 43, of Jonesboro, was shot in the abdomen by Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill while the two were alone inside a model home on Sunday.
Details about the circumstances that led to the shooting are unclear. Hill called 911 to report the shooting and said in a statement Tuesday that it was a tragic accident.
"I will continue to pray unceasingly for her recovery. I ask you all to please pray for Gwenevere and her family throughout this most difficult time," Hill said in a statement.
Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter told local media on Tuesday that statements Hill had made during the call about the position of McCord's body and the location of weapons found at the model home didn't match what police found when they arrived Sunday.
During the call, Hill said he was practicing police tactics, Porter told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (http://bit.ly/1GZxVQY). Porter told WSB-TV that several members of Hill's command staff were already on the scene when responding officers reached the home Sunday. The shooting occurred roughly 50 miles northeast of Jonesboro, where Hill has his office in Clayton County. Both Gwinnett and Clayton are metro Atlanta counties.
"We are interested in interviewing them to try and determine who did he call first, what was said in those calls," Porter said (http://bit.ly/1zyQEAf).
Hill left the scene of the shooting on Sunday without giving an official statement to investigators and has not been arrested.
Arresting a Georgia law enforcement officer for any action taken as part of his duties requires that an arrest warrant be obtained from a superior court judge, a state court judge or a probate court judge, said Terry Norris, executive director of the Georgia Sheriffs' Association. Warrants for law enforcement officers may not be obtained from a municipal or magistrate court judge, he added.
However, if the incident didn't stem from the officer's duties, he should be treated like a citizen, Norris said.
Hill was voted out of office in 2008 and was elected to a second term in 2012, despite being under indictment on felony corruption charges. Hill was accused of pocketing money from his failed 2008 re-election campaign and using county resources for personal purposes. A jury later acquitted him of the 27 felony charges.
McCord's father, Ernest, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (http://bit.ly/1GNa0Pe) that Hill and his daughter are good friends and she worked on one of his campaigns.
"He's taking a lot of heat in the media for not talking," McCord said. "We don't feel like it's anything he's done intentionally. That's what people need to understand."
McCord said his daughter is hospitalized with tubes in her throat and hasn't been able to tell her family what led to the shooting.
A message left for Hill's attorney was not immediately returned Tuesday.