Police chief said he shot wife moving gun in bed

ATLANTA, GA -- A police chief in Georgia told a 911 dispatcher he accidentally shot his 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. 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 the side and it went off."

During the call, McCollom said his wife was having difficulty breathing and appeared to be suffering from both internal and external bleeding. 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.

The shooting surprised neighbors in the quiet subdivision about 30 miles southwest of Atlanta, and it left some on the city's police force shocked. McCollom has served as chief for about a year.

"If you think of someone you love so dearly, and you hurt the person you love so dearly, it's just tragic," said Terry Ernst, a city councilor who retired from the police department in 2012. He had spoken with several officers Thursday. "Everybody's just in disbelief."
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