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Ex-Georgia Police Chief Indicted in Wife's Accidental Shooting

William McCollom, the former police chief of Peachtree City, was indicted on a misdemeanor count after he took a loaded gun to bed, which went off.
/ Source: NBC News

A Georgia grand jury has indicted a former police chief on a misdemeanor charge in the shooting of his wife as she lay in their bed on New Year’s Day.

The Fayette County grand jury indicted ex-Peachtree City police chief William McCollom on Wednesday, NBC station WXIA reported. McCollom called police and told a dispatcher that he shot his wife, Margaret, on accident. She survived, but is being treated for paralysis from the waist down, the station reported.

"The gun was in the bed. I went to move it, I put it to the side, then it went off," McCollom told the dispatcher, according to 911 recordings.

Griffin Judicial Circuit District Attorney Scott Ballard said in March that he would pursue the charge against McCollom, who resigned shortly thereafter.

Ballard said McCollom drank alcohol and took a sleep medication before going to bed, and he was awakened by barking dogs during the night. McCollom grabbed his 9 mm Glock service weapon and checked the house, and when he returned to bed he placed the gun on the sheets between him and his wife, Ballard said.

The gun later went off, and McCollom’s hand was on the weapon and blocked the ejecting shell, Ballard said. "There is no evidence to suggest that Chief McCollom intentionally shot Mrs. McCollom, nor did the investigation reveal any motive to cause her harm," Ballard said in a statement in March.

Ballard said there was nothing in the investigation to suggest a felony had occurred, but the former chief’s actions were reckless.

"We do believe that the evidence should be presented to a grand jury for the possible charge of reckless conduct since the Chief took a loaded gun to bed with him after ingesting alcohol and sleep medication," Ballard said. A phone number listed for McCollom was not in service Wednesday.


— Phil Helsel