ATLANTA – A police chief in Georgia told a 911 dispatcher he accidentally shot his sleeping wife while moving a handgun that was in their bed, according to a recording released Friday.
Peachtree City police Chief William McCollom called for help at 4:17 a.m. New Year’s Day and reported accidentally shooting his 58-year-old wife, Margaret, while they both slept. The Associated Press obtained a recording of the call Friday through an open records request. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is looking into the shooting.
McCollom spoke calmly in the audio recording, telling a dispatcher he needed medical help for an accidental gunshot wound at his suburban home, about 30 miles southwest of Atlanta.
“Who shot her?” the dispatcher asked.
“Me,” McCollom said. “The gun was in the bed, I went to move it, and I put it to a side and it went off.”
During the call, McCollom said he and his wife were sleeping when the shooting happened. No one else was in the home. The nearly six-minute conversation between McCollom and the dispatcher sheds little light on how the gun fired. Authorities previously identified it as McCollom’s 9-mm Glock handgun – his service weapon.
“This just occurred now, right before you called?” the dispatcher asked.
“Yup, yup, went off in the middle of the night,” McCollom said. He told the dispatcher his wife was shot twice, though investigators later determined the wife was shot once.
McCollom said his wife was having difficulty breathing and appeared to be bleeding internally and externally. She was flown by helicopter to Atlanta Medical Center, where she was listed in critical condition Thursday.
McCollom’s wife can be heard crying in the background.
“Oh my God,” the police chief said. “How the hell did this happen?”
GBI spokeswoman Sherry Lang said McCollom has been cooperative with investigators. Authorities plan to interview his wife when her condition improves. Police have not charged McCollom with any crimes. Peachtree City officials placed him on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.