Georgia Police Chief's Wife Believes He Shot Her By Accident

By David Beasley

ATLANTA, Jan 5 (Reuters) - The wife of a suburban Atlanta police chief shot by her husband while in bed early on New Year's Day told investigators she believes it was an accident, authorities said on Monday.

Margaret McCollom's statement to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation backed the assertion of her husband, Peachtree City Police Chief William McCollom, that the shooting was not intentional.

Margaret McCollom told investigators she was asleep when she was shot and was unable to provide information about what had happened, the agency said in a statement.

William McCollom, who has been on administrative leave since the incident, called 911 on Thursday to report that he had shot his wife around 4 a.m. while moving his service revolver, which he said was in the couple's bed.

Margaret McCollom, shot once in the back, was taken by helicopter to a hospital in critical condition. By Monday, her condition had improved enough that she could be interviewed by investigators.

Her husband has cooperated with the investigation, the agency said.

In the 911 recording released on Friday, Margaret McCollom can be heard by the dispatcher crying in the background.

The dispatcher told the chief to apply direct pressure to his wife's wound.

"Are you all right?" McCollom can be heard asking his wife. "I know you're not all right. Are you still breathing?" (Editing by Jonathan Kaminsky and Peter Cooney)

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