Police chief who accidentally shot his wife as she slept has been married FOUR times as it emerges she is now paralyzed from the waist down
• William McCollom, the chief of police in Peachtree City, Georgia, called 911 on January 1 to say he had accidentally shot his wife, Margaret
• She is recovering and told investigators she believes it was accidental
• On the 911 call, it took two minutes for him to admit to the dispatcher that he was the chief of police
• The incident has sparked a criminal probe and an investigation into his four decades working for law enforcement
• It has emerged he has been married four times; Margaret was his third wife and after he recently divorced his fourth wife, they reconciled
A police chief who accidentally shot his wife as she slept in their Atlanta home early on New Year's Day has been married four previous times, an investigation has revealed.
William McCollom, the chief of police in Peachtree City, told authorities that his gun accidentally went off as he moved it in the night and now agents from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and a local prosecutor are conducting a criminal probe and examining his career.
His wife, Margaret McCollom, whom he had previously divorced, is paralyzed from the waist down following the incident, WSBTV reported. She was released from Atlanta Medical Center earlier this week.
She told investigators she cannot shed light on the incident because she was sleeping but that she believes it was an accident.
Records show that her husband waited nearly two minutes into the 911 call to mention where he worked.
'You're the chief of police in Peachtree City?' the dispatcher repeated.
'Yeah, unfortunately, yes,' he responded.
As soon as the bullet struck his wife, McCollom's personal life and three-decade history in law enforcement were bound for intense scrutiny. As the investigation into his past commences, he also faces an internal inquiry that could result in discipline.
McCollom has gone through four divorces, including one from Margaret McCollom. It's unclear whether William and Margaret McCollom ever remarried, though investigators refer to them as husband and wife.
None of McCollom's divorce filings indicate he had ever been violent. He married two of the women in Wyoming, where they remain, and had three children with one.
His fourth wife, previously named by DailyMail.com as Suzanne Carter, is a rabbi who was the police department chaplain in Delray Beach, Florida when McCollo, was chief there.
They married in 2002 and divorced in 2014 after she claims he cheated on her, which he denied.
On the professional front, hundreds of pages of records from his personnel files contain no evidence of criminality, major misconduct or recklessness for the former firearms instructor who once trained a SWAT team on combat shooting.
'Everybody's scratching their head,' said Michael Couzzo Jr., the village manager who hired McCollom as the police chief in Tequesta, Florida, in 2006. 'They're scratching their heads saying, "How could this have happened?"'
Investigators have not publicly speculated on what led up to the shooting.
Only a few details are known. McCollom called 911 around 4:17 a.m. and told a dispatcher his handgun fired as he moved it. McCollom also said he and his wife were sleeping.
He told the 911 dispatcher that he had shot his wife, a former emergency-room nurse, twice with his police-issued Glock 9 mm handgun. But it was later determined that she had only been hit once.
Mrs McCollom told investigators she was sleeping when shot and couldn't offer more information. The wife said she thought the shooting was an accident, GBI spokeswoman Sherry Lang said.
If investigators deem the shooting an accident, a police officer might avoid criminal charges and could potentially keep his job, said Robert Verry, a longtime internal affairs investigator in New Jersey and policing instructor. He is not involved in the probe.
'It's so premature it's tough to tell,' Verry said. 'The devil's in the details.'
Born in northeast Wyoming, McCollom, 57, briefly served as a reserve deputy in Cheyenne, Wyoming, in late 1982, according to his resume. County officials could not immediately determine whether employment records from that period still exist.
McCollom twice married women in Wyoming, including his second wife, with whom he had three children. Both of those marriages ended in divorce.
He found a job in 1983 as a police officer in Delray Beach, Florida, where he worked for 23 years. He rose through the ranks, eventually becoming the assistant chief.
'His tactics were safe,' said Delray Beach Police Lt. Vinnie Gray, a union representative who served on the SWAT team with McCollom. 'It was a shock to see what happened' in Georgia.
In 1988, as McCollom's career accelerated, he wed Margaret. They divorced 11 years later.
The FBI investigated McCollom around 1993 over an allegation he knocked out the front teeth of a suspect arrested for battery on a police officer, McCollom said in a job application.
Old booking photos showed the accuser did not have teeth prior to the arrest. McCollom said the booking photo from the arrest in question did not show any injuries.
'The facts and independent witness testimony proved the subject was lying and the investigation exonerated me after my initial interview,' McCollom wrote.
McCollom was disciplined once in 2005 after being accused of ordering a subordinate to request free hotel rooms for deputy sheriffs, according to his internal affairs file. Delray Beach Police Chief Larry Schroeder, who counseled McCollom over it, did not return messages seeking comment.
McCollom got hired as chief of the small department in Tequesta in 2006, but life drew him back to Wyoming. In early 2010, McCollom sought unpaid leave, telling colleagues he needed to care for an ailing sister and help a family construction business.
'I have an opportunity to enter the private sector as an independent contractor and have decided it is now or never,' McCollom wrote in a resignation letter.
His fourth wife filed for divorce in March 2011. Around that time, his former wife, Margaret, rejoined him in Wyoming, said the chief's sister, Barbara Sutherland.
Sutherland said she believed the couple remarried after he took the police chief's job in Georgia.
'The second time around, they grew up, they figured it out,' she said.
LI police recruit accidentally shoots self during drill
UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) — Authorities say a Long Island police recruit accidentally shot himself in the leg during a training session at a shooting range. Nassau County police say the officer pierced his thigh and calf with a single round from his service weapon.
Two New Mexico police officers accused of killing a homeless man will be charged with murder, the state's district attorney announced on Monday. They are the first charges against Albuquerque officers in connection with shootings.
James Boyd, a 36-year-old homeless man diagnosed as schizophrenic, was shot by the Albuquerque PD after he became engaged in a four-hour standoff with the officers who caught him illegally camping in the Sandia foothills. Boyd was armed with two small knives, which he appeared to brandish towards an officer with a dog. He was pronounced dead the next day.
At a press conference five days after the shooting, Chief Gorden Eden told reporters that he believed the shooting was justified because Boyd made a “threatening” move toward the officer with the dog. Boyd had an extensive criminal past, and mentioned killing the police earlier during the encounter.
Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg filed paperwork Monday charging former Albuquerque Police Department (APD) Detective Keith Sandy and APD SWAT Team member Dominique Perez with one open count of murder each in the March 2014 shooting death of Boyd.
Sandy and Perez will face a preliminary hearing before a judge who will decide whether there is enough evidence to proceed with the charges, Brandenburg’s office said in an email release. No date has been set for the court hearing, the Albuquerque Journal reported.
Brandenburg filed the charges via criminal information papers, allowing her to charge the officers without presenting evidence to a grand jury. Grand juries have declined to indict law enforcement agents in several high-profile, officer-involved shooting deaths over the last several months, including in the cases of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, leading to widespread protests across the country.
Lawyers for the two men argued that they will both be cleared of wrongdoing.
Sandy “had not only the right, but the duty to defend a fellow officer from a mentally unstable, violent man wielding two knives. Keith did nothing wrong,” his attorney Sam Bregman said in a statement. “To the contrary, he followed his training and probably saved his fellow officer’s life.”
“This is truly a shame. Throughout his career, Officer Perez has been called upon to make life-altering decisions while protecting Albuquerque citizens and his fellow officers,” attorney Luis Robles said in a statement to KRQE. “And having made one of those decisions, Officer Perez now faces an open count of murder. Regardless, I am confident that the facts will vindicate Officer Perez’s actions in this case.”
According to the Huffington Post, Sandy was fired from the New Mexico State Police in 2007 over allegations of fraud.
The APD has been under fire since the Boyd shooting. Less than a week after the homeless man’s death, the department released video footage taken from the helmet-cam of an officer on the scene of the crime that shows a cop opening fire on Boyd while his back was turned. He was the first of three shooting deaths involving the department in five weeks: On March 25, the APD shot and killed another man, Alfred Redwine, following an armed stand-off. Three weeks later, Albuquerque police shot and killed Mary Hawkes, who was suspected of stealing a truck.
The US Department of Justice conducted a 16-month review into the police department in New Mexico’s largest city, and recommended a “systematic change” in the final document. The early April report found that the APD had fallen into a pattern of using force more often than necessary which, consequently, caused a number of unjustified fatal shootings by officers in recent years.
APD has been involved in more than 40 shootings since 2010, resulting in 27 deaths, the Journal reported.
In October, the police department reached a deal with the Department of Justice to overhaul many of its practices. The reforms involve new training and recruitment procedures and field supervision of officers, and will require the department to employ body cameras on its officers. Additionally, the APD will begin monitoring every use of a Taser, and officers will have to report every time they point a gun at another individual, regardless of whether or not it is fired.
U.S. Attorney’s Office January 08, 2015 • Southern District of Georgia (912) 652-4422
SAVANNAH, GA—Derrick Andre Fullmer, 27, of Pooler, Georgia, was indicted this week by a federal grand jury sitting in Savannah on charges related to a conspiracy involving the illegal possession and distribution of the controlled substance MDMA, more commonly known as “ecstasy” or “molly.” Fullmer was charged with conspiring to distribute molly as well as aiding and abetting other conspirators. During much of the time of the charged conspiracy, Fullmer was an officer with the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department (SCMPD).
Fullmer was arraigned before United States Magistrate Judge G.R. Smith today. The charge against Fullmer carries a 20-year maximum prison sentence. U.S. Attorney Ed Tarver emphasized that an indictment is only an accusation and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The investigation of this case was conducted by the FBI, the Chatham Savannah Counter Narcotics Team (CNT) and SCMPD. Assistant United States Attorney Scarlett S. Nokes is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States. For additional information, please contact First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham at (912) 201-2547.