Georgia police chief shoots wife on New Year's morning, officials say

An Atlanta-area police chief has been suspended after shooting and critically wounding his wife in their bedroom with his service pistol early New Year's morning, officials said Thursday.

Peachtree City, Ga., police Chief William E. McCollom called 911 shortly after 4 a.m. to report that he'd accidentally shot his wife, Margaret McCollom, two times, according to a department news release and a televised news conference with state and local investigators Thursday afternoon.


Margaret McCollom appears to have been shot one time, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which is handling the investigation and will refer the case to the local county prosecutor's office for any possible criminal charges.

"Our role at this point is wait-and-see," said Fayette County Dist. Atty. Scott Ballard at the news conference, declining to say whether he believed a crime had been committed. "We have no leanings one way or another at this point because we just don't know."

Margaret McCollom was initially hospitalized in critical condition, and officials declined to release an update on her condition Thursday afternoon.

Investigators said they had not interviewed her yet about the incident.

"We're very concerned, obviously, for his wife," Lt. Mark Brown, a spokesman for the Peachtree City police, said at the news conference.

Brown said William McCollom was a "very well-liked, well-loved chief" and had been in the job for about a year.

A representative from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said McCollom was "fully cooperating at this point."

Peachtree City, population 34,893, is about 30 miles southwest of downtown Atlanta.

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