Wife of police chief remains critical after shooting

Peachtree City police chief questioned in wife’s shooting

The wife of Peachtree City’s police chief remained in critical condition Thursday evening after being shot by her husband in the couple’s home just before daybreak.

Police chief William McCollom, called 911 shortly after 4 a.m. to report that he’d accidentally shot his wife, said GBI spokeswoman Sherry Lang.

Margaret McCollom, 58, was airlifted from her home on Autumn Leaf to Atlanta Medical Center where she was in critical condition Thursday evening.

The shot was fired from the chief’s service weapon, which Peachtree City police Lt. Mark Brown identified as a Glock 17 9 millimeter.

The police chief, who in cooperating with the investigation, was questioned by the GBI on Thursday. Later in the day, he went to the hospital to be with his wife, according to Channel 2 Action News.

“The investigation into this incident has been turned over to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation due to the husband of the victim being the Peachtree City Chief of Police,” Brown said.

Police have not said what led to the shooting, but the town’s city manager has placed McCollom on routine administrative leave pending completion of the investigation and an internal review, according to Brown, who referred questions on the incident to the GBI and the Fayette County District Attorney’s office.

McCollom, who joined the department in 2012, became Peachtree City’s police chief in October after serving since July as interim chief.

“In the short time that he’s been chief, he’s earned their respect and admiration, and this is just a terrible, terrible thing to have happened,” Peachtree City Mayor Vanessa Fleisch told Channel 2 Action News.

“The department’s hurting at this point,” Brown said during a Thursday afternoon news conference. “We’re very concerned for, obviously, his wife, we’re concerned for the chief, and right now, we’re just trying to make sure everything’s done correctly as far as the investigation [goes].”

In addition to interviewing the police chief, Lang said investigators plan to speak to Margaret McCollom once she has recovered enough to do so.

The results of the investigation will be turned over to the office of Fayette County District Attorney Scott Ballard.

“Charges are possible when people break the law, and we have to investigations to determine whether that is the case,” Ballard said. “We’ll keep an open mind about this, and certainly the GBI has taken an open mind. The police department has been incredibly cooperative with them as they gave the facts they need. When we have those facts, we’ll see if it’s appropriate to bring charges.”

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.