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Prosecutor to seek charge against police chief who shot wife
Police Chief Shooting
Peachtree City police Chief William McCollom is shown in this undated photo.

ATLANTA — A prosecutor said Thursday that he would seek a misdemeanor charge — but no felony — against a suburban Atlanta police chief who reported accidentally shooting his sleeping wife on New Year's Day.

District Attorney Scott Ballard said in a statement Thursday that he will seek to indict Peachtree City police Chief William McCollom on a charge of reckless conduct, a misdemeanor. There is no evidence for felony charges because of the accidental nature of the shooting, Ballard said.

"I can't see any intent to hurt her. He didn't have any motive," District Attorney Scott Ballard told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

"The criminal activity, if the grand jury indicts, is he recklessly brings a gun to bed with him after having ingested sleep medication and alcohol," Ballard said.

The chief called 911 at 4:17 a.m. Jan 1 and told a dispatcher that he shot his 58-year-old wife, Margaret, while they both slept in their home, about 30 miles southwest of Atlanta. Margaret McCollom later told investigators at the hospital that she was asleep at the time but believed it was an accident.

"The gun was in the bed, I went to move it, and I put it to a side and it went off," McCollom told a dispatcher, according to a recording of the call.

McCollom didn't immediately respond to a telephone message Thursday.

City officials placed the former firearms instructor on administrative leave during the criminal investigation. McCollom still faces into an internal investigation into whether he broke any of the department's rules or procedures.

Margaret McCollom remains at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, where she is being treated for paralysis below the waist and numerous complications, Ballard said in the statement.

McCollom has worked in policing for nearly 30 years in Wyoming, Florida and Georgia. Personnel records reviewed by The Associated Press showed no evidence of criminality, serious misconduct or recklessness in his past.

Court records show McCollom has divorced four times, including once from Margaret McCollom, the woman he shot. It's unclear whether William and Margaret McCollom ever remarried, though investigators have described them as husband and wife. None of McCollom's divorce filings describe any instances of violence.


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