Saturday, January 3, 2015

Statement Analysis of 911 Call of Police Chief William McCollum Shooting Wife

Police Chief shoots wife 911 call has now been released.

In Statement Analysis, we view the Expected versus the Unexpected in 911 calls.  In a domestic shooting, how the caller relates to the victim is critically important.  He will either show a good relationship in the call, or he will show a troubled relationship.  

Presuppositional Thinking in Statement Analysis means going word by word, first, presuming innocence (de facto innocence, not judicial), seeing if the language "fits" or is appropriate. 

Then, re-do the analysis presupposing that the caller has had a domestic dispute with his wife and see if the language is fitting with this presupposition.  

The Expected Versus The Unexpected. 

We set up what we expect to hear from an innocent caller, who's wife has now accidentally been shot.  What do we expect to hear, in such a case as this?

It is expected that the caller will:

a. ask for help for the victim, specifically for the victim; not in general, and not for himself.  

b. show concern for the victim not for the caller himself.  His wife is, perhaps, mortally wounded, and we expect to hear him care only for her.  

c.  use direct language befitting an emergency not staged language for the recording.   This should sound like "excited utterance" and be helpful. 

Given that he is law enforcement, we expect him to not only answer the questions, but to offer relevant information to the operator.  

Remember, this is an Interview.  The 911 operator is asking questions because she needs information.  

In every interview, there is an impression:

Either the subject is working with the Interviewer to get the information, or the subject is showing resistance or reluctance, to impede the flow of information.  This also can be where the subject impedes information by using tangents or avoidance.  

d.  Passive Language:  passivity is used to conceal identity or responsibility   In an accidental shooting, it would be expected about the gun going off, but nothing else.  If there is passivity, it must be noted.  The passivity should not be coupled with distancing language, since passivity already shows distance. 

e.  The social introduction is key to understanding the relationship at the time of the call. 

If he and his wife fought, and this caused him to threaten her, perhaps, and the "gun went off", we may see him distance himself from his wife by avoiding her name, coupled with her title:  "my wife______"

I expect him to say, "This is William McCollom, I just shot my wife, Margaret.  She needs help." and give the address.  Then when he is asked for details, he will say that the gun went off accidentally.  

Order teaches us priority. 

Police Chief William McCollom's 911 call analyzed.  

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911: Fayette county 911, what’s the address of your emergency?

Chief: 103 Autumn Leaf.

911: What’s going on there?

Chief: Uh, gunshot wound…accidental. Need medical asap.

Note the order shows priority.  

Gunshot Wound is first, and not his wife. 

Accidental --alibi set
Medical is asked for after responsibility for shooting.  

The priority is not the victim.  

Please note:  

Here is where we expect him to say he shot his wife, If it is his gun, using her name, and asking for help for her. 

If she owned a gun, and slept with it, it may be appropriate.  

If this is his gun, we expect him to take responsibility because his concern is not being blamed or not being blamed, but his wife, Margaret's, condition. 

 Instead, he speaks in short, broken sentences:  

1.  "Uh" is a pause to think.  This pause is noted as sensitive.  "Excited utterance" is expected in a 911 call in which someone is bleeding to death and is in need of immediate medical intervention.  What has caused a pause?

2. "gunshot wound"  avoids saying "I shot my wife" or "my wife needs help!" He does not say who has the gunshot wound, or how she got it.  He does not even say who has the gunshot wound.  

2. "accidental" is not to say "I shot her by accident"  Please note that people do not generally lie outright, but are deceptive through missing information, including dropped pronouns.  We note what sentences are missing pronouns, and what sentences produce pronouns . 

3.  "Need medical asap" is without a pronoun. He does not say who is in need of medical help.  

He does not ask for help for her, specifically.  This is not expected.  This early in the call we looked for a complete social introduction which would tell us that it is a good relationship. 

Statement Analysis deals with not only what one says, but what one does not say:  

Note that "I just shot my wife, Margaret, by accident, she needs medical assistance asap!" would:

1.  Use the pronoun "I"

2.  Give the complete social introduction "my" showing ownership, "wife" is her title, and "Margaret" her name.  A complete social introduction indicates a good relationship. 

In this opening, he has indicated that there is a problem in their relationship. 

Their history will have to be explored.  

911: OK. Where are you shot at? 

Because of his failure to adequately inform the operator, she has to ask where he has been shot.   It is not clear to her what has happened.  This is coming from a man who has likely spent many years in this specific field of information.  His wording appears careful and cautious.  We now look to see if he will give indication of a good relationship, and care for her life and get the flow of information to the operator.  

Statement Analysis does not deal with voice inflection, but the 911 operator does.  It may be that his inflection, with staid emotions, is causing her to ask questions.  

Listeners may question why he sounds calm and collected and will consider his training as a possible explanation.  The 911 operator, however, must gather information and it is expected that someone with his training will freely help her in this manner. 

Chief: What’s that?

911: Where is the person shot at?

"Person" is gender neutral.  Thus far, the 911 operator does not know who has been shot 

Chief: In the back.

The subject gives the location of the wound. 
He does not say "in her back" with a pronoun to identify the victim.  This is a subtle distancing language which distances himself from the victim, but it also distances the wound from the victim.  

This is not expected.  

He gives short answers.  Because he has yet to give a social introduction, he forces the operator to ask:  

911: Is it a male or female?

The 911 operator had to ask this.  She should not have had to ask.  

Chief: Female.

This is all he says.  

This is a signal that he is not cooperating with the police.  Here is where he often hear the phrase "fully cooperating" making "cooperation" sensitive, and in need of description.

When police say "he is fully cooperating" it means that there is another type of cooperation in mind: that is, less than complete.  

He is cooperating with police, by answering the 911 Operator's questions, but he is limiting his words carefully.  It is right here, at this point, that the expectation is not "female" but "my wife" or "Maggie" or anything that "ups the level" of information. 

Here is where we expect him to now use the introduction since he has not used it yet.

He continues to avoid saying, "my wife, Margaret"    This is another place where he could identify that it is his wife in need of assistance. 

That he has not yet used his wife's name is distancing language indicating a poor relationship and/or a need to distance himself from her. 

This is not expected when there is a good relationship and the married couple are "one", in their minds and in their language. 

In a close, married relationship, the couple often feel like "one", so that when one suffers, they both suffer.  

Here, in the midst of a life or death trauma, he will not even use her name. 

911: How old is she? How old is she?

Chief: 58

he does not use her name.  He answers the question in the shortest possible way. 

What else might he have said?

"She is 58."  Instead, "58" uses no pronoun.  This is distancing language. 

He might have mentioned something about her condition, as well, at this point. 

He does not.  

*911: She’s shot in the back and in the side?

we do not know why the 911 operator made this assumption.  This is to be shot in either two locations, or that the bullet entered and exited (back to side).  

Chief: Yes…and numb in back. Come on. Let’s get them here.

It may be that he is not listening carefully as she has assumed two shots possibly.  (see note above). 

He does not ask for help specifically for her.  He has not used her name.  

In analyzing 911 calls, some guilty callers will ask for help, but not for the victim specifically.  Some will even say "help me!" in the call.  

"Let's get them here" is as if he is part of the team, as in "Let us..."
He is not part of the team.  His wife is bleeding near death beside him, because of his action.  This may be an attempt to portray himself as part of the help, not the cause.  

The word "Let's" is an abbreviation (casual) 

911: Somebody else is dispatching help. I need to get some more information from you. You said it was an accident?

Please note that "somebody else is dispatching help" is something the subject likely already knew.  This makes "Let's get them here" possibly sound artificial. 

Chief: Yes.

He gives no further information, causing her to ask more questions:  

911: She was shot twice accidental?

That she was shot "twice"  is affirmed by the operator.  

The gun went off twice?  This is not something expected in a shooting where a trigger is pulled accidentally, by, for example, someone rolling over on it in bed.  

Chief: Yes.

The word "yes" is a strong response, but we do not know if he is saying "yes" to the "shot twice" part of the question, or "accidental" part.  This is why compound questions must always be avoided. 

Please note that we are also tracking the difference in context between "yep" and "yes."

Due to the limited information he has given her, she must now ask:  

911: Who shot her?

Chief: Me.

No explanation beyond this point. 
This is not expected.  
Note that he does not say "Me, I shot her" or "I did, but by accident."

He takes ownership of shooting her with "me" rather than saying "the gun went off."

This will prove important to analysis and to the subsequent investigation.  Since he has given no explanation, she must now ask:  

911: How did you shoot her?

Note that the 911 operator did not say "why did you shoot her?" because she has clearly heard him say "accident", as it was a priority for him, coming even before the need for medical intervention in his order of speech.  

Chief: I wasthe gun was in the bed. I went to move it…uh, put it to the side and then it went off.

a.  "I was" is broken off:  this is self-censoring.  It is an indication of missing information, deliberately suppressed by the subject. 

What was he going to say?

"I was asleep"?
"I was cleaning it..."?
"I was moving it...?

With the pronoun "I" we would have seen some responsibility.  Instead, in the self censoring, he suppresses whatever he was going to say.  

b.  "the gun"  is not "my gun"

Note "the gun" and not "a" gun as first introduced, and, since he is chief of police, he does not say it is "my gun" which would take ownership of the gun.  

This means that there is something sensitive about ownership of the gun.  

c.  Passivity and the gun.

Passivity in language conceals identity or responsibility.  When an identity is not known, for example, passive language is appropriate.  

Guns do not go off by themselves:  one must pull the trigger.  

Guns do not go to bed.  Someone must put it there.  

In an accidental shooting, for example, where someone rolled over the gun while sleeping and caused it to go off, passive language would be appropriate.  

If the gun went off inadvertently, passive language is appropriate because one does not know how it went off, therefore, no responsibility is assigned. 

This is especially true if it is her gun, and she generally sleeps with it.  He does not say "my wife's gun" nor does he say "my gun."

This is distancing language from the gun.  

Next, we note  that he says

"the gun was in the bed" , which employs passive language. 

 This conceals or refuses to identify how the gun got into the bed.

This is important. 

If one of them rolled over and caused the gun to go off, the passivity of 

"the gun went off" is appropriate.  No one deliberately pulled the trigger making passive language appropriate. 

However, here, we find "the gun was in the bed" deliberately avoids saying who is responsible for putting the gun in the bed. 

This is a deliberate use of passive language which provokes the natural question:

"Who put the gun in the bed?" since guns do not go to bed by themselves  

Because it is the subject, himself, making this statement, it is an indication that he brought the gun to the bed, but does not want this to be known. 

Ownership of guns by Law Enforcement.  

We are possessive creatures and due to the nature of life saving, preservation of life, and many hours of practice, it is expected that a law enforcement officer will say "my" gun (just as he would say "my wife.")

In law enforcement, officers often report a close relationship (evidenced by language) with their gun.  This is no surprise since the gun may save his life, the life of others, and he spends a large number of hours in training and practicing with hit.)  The possessive pronoun, "my", therefore, is not only expected, but highly expected, by someone in law enforcement, if the gun is his.  If it is not, it is appropriate to have it absent from the language. 

As police chief, if it is his gun, we expect him to take ownership of it.  

d.  Intentions

Please note:  "I went to move it" tells us what he intended to do.  We let his words guide us. Deceptive people often tell us about intentions, hoping that we will interpret the meaning as completed.  Yet, we believe what the words tell us and follow the subject closely.  

Please also note what is missing from this response:  the pronoun "we"; that is, the instinctive pronoun that is used to describe unity and cooperation.  

Question:  Did he say he moved the gun and it went off?

Answer:   No

He only "went to" move it.  He does not say he moved it.  

Thus, he further distances himself from the gun.  

"Went":  this word is important.  "I went to move it" means that he knew it was there.  This indicates intention, but not action.  

Where was he when he "went" to move it? 

Was he in the bed with her? 
Was he in a different room, realizing that it was left in the bed where she was sleeping?

Why did he need to move it?  What was it doing in the bed in the first place?
why does he deliberately conceal the identity of the one who brought it to bed?

If his wife did it, it would not cause stress to say so, since it was an "accident"; but if he brought it to bed, he knows he is naturally going to have to explain why he brought it to bed.  

He knows that investigators will wonder: Did he bring it to bed in a threatening manner?

This will be an important place to focus the interview. 


Please note that this use of "went" could be a figure of speech, or even a regional expression.  Some will use this form of intention to deceive, but some do so as a habit of speech.  "I went to" indicating what one has done.  It would be important to learn if this is part of his subjective personal dictionary, or if it is a common local phrase.  

911: Is she awake?

Chief: No.   Everybody was sleeping.

Please note: 

The question is "is she awake?" to which he says, "no", yet the 911 operator could hear her crying. 

What about his verb tense?

Is he thinking about when the shots happened?  

If so, there are new questions to be answered.  

Please note "everybody" is not defined.  

He has not used his wife's name;  this is distancing langue.  We must now learn who "everybody" is.  

We must learn  who is in the home as this is an indication that there are more people in the home than just he and his wife, and this is in the past tense. 

At the time of this call, it appears to be just the caller and the victim.  Yet, he went to the past tense, perhaps back to the time of the shooting. 

What caused him to say "everybody was sleeping"?

a.  If it was just the two of them, it may suggest editorializing (story telling)

b.  Was he thinking of someone else?
c.  Was someone else there previously?
d.  Had he plans to leave to meet someone else, a love interest, who was sleeping?
e.  Did they have a visitor earlier that night?
f.   Did one of them have plans to have someone over that night?

Clearly, "everybody was sleeping" is not to say "we" were sleeping.  "We" shows unity and cooperation. 

There is no "we" in his statement, which affirms just how bad the relationship is in the statement.  

Investigators need to learn if he was unfaithful to her, or if she was unfaithful to him, and if either was threatening to have an affair. 

This is very strange and not something expected from one who is alone with his critically bleeding wife. 

911: No, is she awake now?

The operator intuitively heard the verb tense.  She also heard the plurality of "Everybody" and seeks clarification. 

Chief: Huh?

The subject is distracted.  

911: Is she awake now?

Chief: Yes.

He answers with the strong "yes"
Please note that we are comparing his use of "yes", with the casual, "yep" which is something that is often found when one 'agrees' with another.  

911: Is she breathing?

Dispatch is asking questions because the subject is only answering specific questions and not giving any additional details.  In a marriage, this is most unexpected.  

Chief: Yes.

This is a strong response.  

911: And…103 Autumn Leaf. What’s your nearest intersection or street?

Chief: Uh we’re in Center Green 

This is the first use of "we" and the context is the location and not personal.  

After giving the 911 operator the location where they are at, she asks about the location of the gun:  

**At 1:32…911: Where’s the gun at?

Chief: Uhhh, geez I don’t know. I threw it to the side. It might be in the bed here. I don’t know.

The location of the gun is important for the safety of the responders.  

Note throwing the gun produced the pronoun "I" and he had the presence of mind to "throw it"; why the need to throw it?

Also, if he threw it, was this in anger?  staging?  

"Uh, geez":   the meaning of geez is surprise or annoyance. Which is it?

It does not make sense that it would be surprise, since this is a question that has to do with responders' safety. 

I feel it's the latter, since he is annoyed that he's being asked about the location of the gun.  He does not like being questioned.  He may feel that he is "above" such a question since he is the chief of police.  

 Chief: You having trouble breathing, Dear?

This is a term of endearment.  Investigators will need to learn if this was a usual term used by him, or something for the call.   It is spoken clearly into the phone and comes across well in the recording.  This will be compared to other things he says, including the volume of which the voice transmits.  

Please note that terms of endearment, in Statement Analysis, are often signals of a very bad relationship, as they are used to persuade.  This, however, is about written statements where someone might write, "I said "I love you" to her and kissed her goodnight and she went to sleep."  That the subject had the need to include "I love you" (similar to term of endearment) is flagged for possible bad relationship, as it may underscore the need to persuade the audience. 

Is the subject, here, using the term, "dear" to play to the audio?

Since she is lying in agony and "of course" she is having trouble breathing, this does not sound genuine, but may be an attempt to persuade the listener (police) of a tender and caring subject; yet that is not what the call reveals.  

He does not ask for help for her, specifically, something we flag in 911 calls where domestic violence is in question. 

He avoids using her name and her title of "wife", which is distancing language.  

He does, however, show concern for himself.  

This taken collectively may indicate that "dear" is indicative of a bad relationship, particularly due to context. 

911: Alright, I want you to…you are with her now?

Instruction was about to be given, but then the operator changes course to ask this question.  

Please note that the 911 operator did not assume that the caller was with his wife, which is unusual.  He did not even use her name or title (wife) which, even without training, the 911 operator will have a 'feel' for distancing language.  She may have even been surprised that he was so close to her to talk to her.  

The question is:  "You are with her now?"  Note his response.  He may have felt insulted by her question:  

Chief:  "What’s that? I’m the Chief of Police. It’s a…the bed, the gun is on the dresser.

1.  He answers her question with a question.  He is the one who sounded so distant from the victim, but when asked about it, he shows the sensitivity by answering a question with a question.  

If he did not hear her question, the response, "What's that?" is appropriate.  Yet, he then chooses to go on instead of waiting for her to repeat the question. 

He gives her an assertion that produces the pronoun, "I" in a call of which the pronoun "I" is not strongly used.  

2.  His affirmation:  

This is an arrogant statement.  

 He identifies himself, not as a police officer, but as the "chief of police", which is not what she asked. 

Remember in statement analysis:  when one goes beyond the boundary of the question  every word is important. 

That he is the "Chief of Police" is very important to him.  Please note:

he does not show verbal concern over his wife's condition.  He does, however, show concern over his own career. 

That his response is high minded must be noted.   This should cause investigators to consider past Domestic Violence.  High-minded and controlling are issues associated with D/V.  This is a call in which a wife has been shot by her husband, who, in the call, refuses to identify her by name or by the fact that she is his wife.  

He refuses to give her a title of "wife" but he gives himself the title " the Chief of Police."

This is far more emphasis than she was given, though she is near death.  

That he has a history of D/V should be learned, and will not be surprising if verified.  

He gets a title, but the one lying bleeding to death, does not.  This is not lost on the 911 operator who can hear the victim's moaning:  

911: OK. You’re the Chief of Police in Peachtree City?

Chief: Yeah, unfortunately. Yes.

"Unfortunate" is the condition of the 58 year old woman lying beside him, bleeding to death. 

yet for him, "unfortunate" is himself, due to the job he currently holds at the time of this call.

This is extremely calloused. 

In his personal, subjective, internal dictionary, "unfortunate" is his job status, but not his wife's precarious status of life and death.  

This is not expected.  

Here, we have the subject showing concern for himself.  This is not expected.   This may have prompted the next question: 

911: Alright, is this your wife?

It is strange for the operator to have to ask this question.  

Chief: Yes.

911: OK sir. Um, I do want to ask you some more questions about her health right now. Somebody else has already dispatched help so we’re not delaying that OK?

Chief: OK.

911: Is that her crying?

operator shows concern.  Also, did operator feel need to identify who it was that was crying, thinking that someone else might have been there, based upon his language?

Chief: Yes, she’s having trouble breathing now.

She is having trouble breathing "now"; did she have trouble breathing earlier?  Due to the seriousness of the injury, she likely did.  

Please note:  he knew that she had internal bleeding (below) 

911: OK.

**At 2:35…(you hear moaning/crying in background)

911: OK. (more moaning) This just occurred now right before you called?

Operator is suspicious of a possible delay.  

Chief: Yep..yep went off in the middle of the night.

Note "yep" instead of formal "yes."

Some people use "yep" when they are agreeing with someone else.  

We will note where he uses "yep" versus where he uses "yes."

I am concerned that this call was not made immediately after the shooting, based upon his response:

"yep" is repeated, as if 'agreeing' with the 911 operator

then taken with "in the middle of the night" rather than "just now" in his language.  

This suggests a delay in calling.  

This may be difficult to understand on the audio but the call should be right after the shooting.  "went off in the middle of the night" sounds more like editorializing, or story telling. 

Note that he even drops the pronoun "it" 

This is more distancing language.  

The passivity over a gun going off is expected if the subject does not know how it went off, but the dropped pronoun is not expected.  Let's say that one rolled over and the gun discharged, it would be passive, since the caller did not know which of them caused it, but might say, "it went off" with the pronoun, "it."  He wants to distance himself from the gun. 

"in the middle of the night" is not necessary because it just happened.  This is something that sounds more like story telling.  

"Middle of the night" could cover a great deal of time.  The expected answer is "just now" and nothing else.  Even a slight delay for trying to stop the bleeding would still be an immediate response.  His need to editorialize may have confirmed the intuitive suspicion of the 911 operator. 

911: Is there any serious bleeding?

Chief: Well, it’s internal but yes there is.

She is in critical condition, shot in the back. The only answer to this question is "yes" 

He uses "yes" after the word "but"; note it is not "yep"

The word "but" refutes or minimizes that which preceded it.  This may indicate that he knew there was internal bleeding.  Investigators should learn if there was a time delay in calling 911.  

"Well" is a pause to think.  This is not expected as he compares it (the word "but"), while recognizing it as internal.  

911: OK, is she completely alert?

Chief: Yes

"Yes" rather than "yep"

911: OK

Chief: And you already told me it was the back.

 Chief: She’s starting to have trouble breathing now so it must be internal.

It would be important to ask him about her breathing earlier (not in this call, but the investigative interview). 

911: OK. Is she on her back?

Chief: She’s laying on her stomach.

911: She’s laying on her stomach. OK. If you see any external bleeding, we’re going to apply direct pressure to that OK? Is she bleeding where you can see it?

Note the intuitive use of "we" which is always wise.  The word "we" reduces the tension that may exist between police and caller.  This operator does a good job.  

Chief: Yes.

The expectation is that with his background, he had already begun basic emergency care applying pressure to the wound. 

This is also "yes" and not "yep"

911: OK, I want you to get a dry clean cloth and I want you to apply direct pressure to the wound.

Chief: OK.

 (sound of moaning) Chief: Ok

911: Ok I want you to hold the cloth there. Do not lift it to look at it. Just keep applying pressure

This would seem unnecessary but the operator, rather than asking if he has applied immediate care, instinctively instructs him to.  

Chief: (hard to understand)

would one of his background have already put pressure on the wound?

911: Ok. You want them to enter through the front door?

Chief: I don’t care if they come in the side door. It’s fine, I don’t care.

He should give the answer in which the victim is accessed in the quickest route.  That he does not care may be an attempt to sound cooperative, as if coming through a different door does not inconvenience him.

He should have told them to come in the most direct route.  

Chief: aLright, come on guys…get here.

This is still not to ask for specific help for the victim. 

Chief: Yeah, I got the door open for them.

Chief: Oh my God.

Note the use of Divinity:  

He does not ask God to help or save his wife.  

911: What’s your name sir?

Chief: How did this happen?

Note the open question by the subject being asked out loud.  Only he can answer this question  yet he asks it, anyway.  This is another red flag.  This is concerning and may be a play for the recording. 

911: What’s your name sir?

Chief: Will McCollum 

**At 4:15…911: Were you asleep also sir when it happened?

Chief: Yep,  are you alright dear? I know you are not alright. I mean, are you still breathing? Still alert for me?

"Yep" is not "yes" but more casual.  "Yep" is often used when one finds an answer within the question, to agree to.  

Please note:  he affirms that he was asleep when it happened, making it an accident where one rolls over in his sleep, yet only uses the weak "yep", rather than stronger "yes", which must be compared with:

"I went to..." contradicts being asleep. 

Regarding speaking to his wife:

She may have answered him harshly.  This may indicate that an argument took place before the shooting. 

911: Is there anybody else there with you guys?

That he said "everybody was sleeping" has likely prompted this question.  Since "everybody" was sleeping, who else is there?

Chief: No.

Did he say "everybody" was asleep earlier?  This is concerning.  It could point to the attempt to build 'a crowd of support' due to guilt and the need to share guilt. 

Guilty parties often feel that if others are around, they can spread the guilt out.  We see this in school children.  Yet, there was no one there but the caller and the victim, who's name is avoided.  

 Chief: Come on. Hurry, hurry, hurry.

Please note that he knows how the system works; dispatch while he is speaking.  

This sounds staged, just as his other phrases, including "God" and "How did this happen"" do.  

911: I hear them in the background. They are coming as fast as they can. Ok?

Chief: I can hear them.

911: Do we have that dry clean cloth on her wound?

This is intuitive.  She uses the word "we", as cooperation, instead of saying "Do you have that dry clean cloth on her wound?" revealing her own suspicion. 

To use "we" indicates a need for cooperation.  She does not sense he is cooperative and she has her doubts that he has tended to her wounds.   

Chief: Alright come on guys.

He is not engaged with the 911 operator. 

911: You see them sir?

**At 5:30 Chief: Right there on the dresser is the gun.

911: Is there an officer there?

Chief: Jamie is here, yeah.

Please note that he used the officer's name while avoiding his wife's name in the entire call.  

911: Ok, Chief I’m going to let you go

There are enough red flags in this call for police to consider the chief a suspect and seek to learn about the marital relationship's discord.  From this call alone, 

I conclude that their relationship is not good;

that he uses distancing language from her;

he uses distancing language from the gun;

he inappropriately uses passivity in language, avoiding the responsibility of how the gun got into the bed.  

He expresses concern for himself, but not for her, who's name he was unable to use in the entire call.  

If I did not write the word "Margaret", you would not have known her name. 

If the 911 operator had not specifically asked, she would not have been identified as his wife.  

How does he get through the entire call without calling her his "wife", nor use her name?

He should be a suspect in this shooting.  The sensitivity indicates trouble in the relationship. 

Presuppositional Statement Analysis:

1.  Presume innocence.  Ask yourself, "What would I say?"

Could you make it through an entire 911 call without using the word "wife", in his shoes?

Could you make it through the entire 911 call without once using your wife's name? (or knickname)

Walk yourself through the call, putting yourself in his shoes.  You have law enforcement background and may even use "cop speak", with such things as "ASAP"

Ask yourself what you might say if your wife was laying in the bed, internally bleeding from not one, but two gun shot wounds, and may not survive.  Loving her, would you care about yourself, or your job, or reputation? Would you need to "not care" which door paramedics enter through?

If you are married, work it through with your spouse. 

2.  Now, Presume a poor relationship, an argument, and a guilty caller.  Presume guilt.

Work through the statement again, presupposing that this was a domestic dispute in which he shot her twice.  

Follow the same as above, even working it through with your spouse. 

With presupposed guilt, does the language now "fit"?


The caller is deceptive

He was not asleep when the gun went off.  

His words show concern about himself and his career, and not for the victim.

The relationship is bad. His distancing language is acute; something more expected in a domestic homicide than anything else.  He was unable to use her name nor did he even use the word "wife" in the call. 

He did not help the operator gain information but showed restraint and reluctance. 

He likely shot her in a moment of anger.  

There may be a third party in their relationship, who may not have been in the home, but was in his mind during the call.  

He may have a history of D/V allegations against him.  

He likely did not call 911 immediately.  



Kat said...

I read partial transcripts earlier, i think has them.

The gun went off, he was asleep, his seeming lack of concern when he asks if she's having trouble wasnt an accident.

Foolsfeedonfolly said...

Also note that he said he "moved the gun to the side", not off the bed. We go from "the gun was in the bed", to him moving it "to the side". The side of what? Him, his wife, his face, the bed? If the issue was the gun being in the way of laying /sitting on the bed, the expected is that one (especially a Chief of Police with weapons experience) would move the gun completely off the bed. The question that should have been asked is why did he move the gun?

There's a temporal lacunae with "the gun was in the bed" and "I went to move it" because he adds additional information with "put it to the side". This is followed by "and then it went off". Where was his wife when the gun was in the bed?

Also note that the "gun went off" is singular, yet he tells the dispatcher she is shot in the back AND the side...indicating 2 shots. If this was an accidental shooting, he should know how many shots were fired because his brain would record that (increased adrenaline heightens senses in an emergency- fight or flight response). The lack of detail in his responses is telling.

Also, as Chief of Police, one would expect him to be trained as a First Responder or at least in Basic First Aid. It's both appalling and telling that he waits for the 911 Dispatcher to prompt him to apply pressure to a bleeding wound (particularly to his wife and particularly one in the back). Has he never worked an auto accident scene or a domestic dispute scene? WOW! Just wow. Was he waiting for her to bleed out while he gave basically one word answers to Dispatch, making her ask for every single piece of information?

Having been the Emergency contact for someone, my first response to "911,what's your emergency?" was instinctively "My neighbor, [her name], is [stated her emergency]." As I spoke with Dispatch, I encouraged my neighbor by name and relayed questions, responses, and information between the two...something we don't see until very late in this 911 call and only as Emergency crews are nearing the home (likely to affect a recorded air of concern for his wife-too little, too late in the call IMO).

Gunpowder residue, trajectory of the bullet(s), angle of the bed/gun location/victim's position/husband's position, location of victim's wounds (particularly in relation to bullet trajectory and combined angles), size of the wound(s),statement analysis of the 911 call,his witness statements, blood splatter/stain evidence,etc. will tell the story.

Foolsfeedonfolly said...

I'm curious to know if his wife is/was on any type of blood-thinning medication, given his short answers. I can give a bit of a pass for the business-like first 2 responses, as far as address, "gunshot wound", and "need medical ASAP". That would be expected from a seasoned officer. It's that fact that he needs to assert "accidental" before the call for medical that's going to hang him. If you've just accidentally shot your beloved wife in the back and side and she's bleeding, you're not going to be worrying about what anyone thinks of you. She will be your first priority, in you will be busy imploring her not to die, encouraging her to hang in there, repeatedly telling her how sorry you are and begging her forgiveness, hysterical that you've accidentally hurt the one you love, crying/sobbing or trying desperately to hold it together so you don't panic her further. Anybody hear that on this call?

Anonymous said...

This is no freakin' accident! He goes from moving the gun to the side, to throwing the gun and not knowing where it is, to the gun being on the dresser. It's for damned sure she wouldn't have been the one who moved the gun to the side, or threw the gun, or placed it on the dresser. He knew exactly where he placed that gun after he shot her.

You are dead on right about this one Peter. No guess work here. He deliberately shot this poor woman IN the back, then can't even bring himself to use her name or show any sympathy for her, not one ounce of feelings for her as she lays there dying. The SOB doesn't look like a wife killer but he sure is.

S + K Mum said...

If he shot her twice it's not accidental. There's no way he could shoot her a third time then claim an accident. He must have known the first shot wasn't going to be fatal. The use of the word 'unfortunately' kind of reminds me of a 'sorry'. i.e. Unfortunately I didn't kill her.
No doubt there will be a history of abuse.

sidewalk super said...

"dear" , a tad too late, methinks.
This guy is an actor.

News reports say victim is the number two and number four wife of chief will.
News also says it was his police gun , a Glock, not easy to fire accidentally.

I wonder how long after the shooting his call to 911 was placed?

Jo said...

He also starts by saying he was moving the gun when she was shot and then says he was sleeping when it happened.

John Mc Gowan said...

OT Update:

Heather Elvis update: Trial date set for suspects, but where's the body?

Bad manners john TWAT said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Thank you John for the Heather Elvis update.... xx00xx

Anonymous said...

I was wondering the same thing; how much time elapsed between when he shot her and when he called 911? My guess is that he waited as long as he thought he reasonably could before calling 911, hoping she would bleed out and die but she wasn't dying fast enough for him to be able to believably 'explain' himself.

Numerous discrepancies in his made up story, numerous; not to mention 'distancing' himself from the woman he just shot.

Gotta watch out for the 'good ole boys' banding together in his precinct.

I pray she lives. For one thing, I'd love to hear her story. I'm sure it's not pretty.

Anonymous said...

OT - Shane Montgomery. From the Help Find Shane Montgomery Facebook Page: "Today we have done what we promised. We found and brought Shane home. We want to thank the Garden State Underwater Recovery Unit, Philadelphia Marine Unit, Northwest Detectives, the Philadelphia Police Department, Saint John the Baptist, Mike Rose and the Brew Pub and their employees. We want to thank everyone for their support, prayers, and love and ask that they continue to pray for our family at this trying time. At this time we ask that you please respect our privacy. We need time to mourn together as a family."

John Mc Gowan said...

Body Pulled From Schuylkill River Is Shane Montgomery: Family

Read more:
Follow us: @nbcphiladelphia on Twitter | nbcphiladelphia on Facebook

Anonymous said...

He threw the gun to the side... but then tells first responders that the gun is on the dresser.

Tania Cadogan said...

He has a tangled relationship history which could provide a motive.

I wonder what he will do if she pulls through and starts talking about what happened that night?

Did he think she would die and he could claim accident only to find out she may well live and will tell the truth?

I hope they have protection for her, he may have nothing to lose.

John Mc Gowan said...

EXCLUSIVE — Colleague: Wife of ex-Tequesta Police Chief Mysteriously Shot by Him on New Year’s Day Complained of Abuse!

TEQUESTA — In the 20-plus years she lived in South Florida, former Tequesta Police Chief William McCollom‘s then ex-wife told colleagues in a hospital where she worked as a nurse that the policeman was abusive to her!

Now, Maggie McCollom is in critical condition at the Atlanta Medical Center in Georgia after William McCollom told authorities he accidentally shot her in their Peachtree City home about 4 a.m. on New Year’s Day.

William McCollom, 57, was a long-time cop in Delray Beach and achieved the rank of assistant chief before taking the top job in Tequesta in 2006. He resigned in 2010 and left for his native Wyoming to take care of an ailing family member, a source tells Gossip Extra.

Two years later, William McCollom moved to suburban Atlanta and eventually became chief of the Peachtree City Police Department.

What happened on New Year’s morning, if you believe news reports, is unclear.

Somehow, emergency room nurse Maggie McCollom, 58, was shot by the chief with his service revolver in their bedroom.

The chief has not been arrested, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is on the case.

By now, however, the Bureau is receiving calls from acquaintances of the couple in Palm Beach County, Gossip Extra can reveal.

“I already talked to them (GBI),” said a source who asked to remain anonymous and who worked with Maggie McCollom for several years at the JFK Medical Center in Atlantis.

“Magpie,” as Maggie McCollom was known, told colleagues she was abused by the chief, the source said.

“She lived in fear of the guy,” the anonymous nurse said. “We all thought she was making a mistake when she left the job to move back with him in Atlanta. Our understanding is that there was mental and physical abuse.”

There is not evidence in court records that Maggie McCollom filed any official complaints against the chief in Palm Beach County. He is generally respected by his colleagues.

There is evidence, however, that the McColloms were divorced here in 1999, after 11 years of marriage!

One daughter was born to them, and the divorce settlement ordered William to quick-deed their house in Delray Beach to her.

I’m told William and Maggie were in touch through most of the 2000s, and continued some type of a on-again, off-again romantic relationship.

Then, William married to Suzanne Carter, a rabbi who also worked as a chaplain for the Delray Beach Police and Fire departments.

Carter was officially divorced from McCollom in January 2014, nearly two years after Maggie moved to Peachtree City with the chief.

It is unclear at this point whether the McColloms were re-married.

Carter has yet to return calls about her relationship with the chief.

Statement Analysis Blog said...

thanks, John.

Does anyone think he is going to be charged?


John Mc Gowan said...

Lang of the GBI says the initial investigation indicates that Peachtree City Police Chief William McCollom shot his wife, Margaret, once, while they were in their bedroom, some time after four-o-clock New Year's morning. It was chief McCollom who called 911.

Lang explains, "He is fully cooperating."

When the word "fully" is used along side cooperation, it makes cooperation sensitive and that maybe, they are not getting "full" cooperation or that they are trying to court the POI. Has he taken a polygraph, is this standard operation in cases like this ?

Tania Cadogan said...

I think he will be.
His wife is critical but stable and may have made statements to LE.

In his 911 call we had time sensitivity, did he think she would die and waited as long as possible before calling 911?

He did not apply first aid as would be expected by an officer who learn at least the basics.
he had to be told to apply pressure to the wound.

I would ask why he had not applied pressure the moment he shot and hit her, especially if it was accidental.

As John pointed out there is no mention of her name and not even who was shot until he was prompted.
His tangled relationship history and now reports that he was abusive all point to intent to kill.

Will she be able to make a full statement to LE as to what happened?

Will they interview and polygraph him though i would prefer a statement analyst.

I also have concerns that if push comes to shove and he realises it is game over, he will self harm.

He will lose his job, family and reputation, he will have a hard time in prison.
What is of benefit to him?

Will we see a plea deal?

Lemon said...

Chief: "No. Everybody was sleeping."

I am curious to know if he was on the phone with someone else? They should pull the records. Who is "everybody"? "We" were sleeping is the expected.

Anonymous said...

John,,.,your "OT"shite is tedious.Get a life u sad bastard prick.

trustmeigetit said...

I also was bothered by him saying he just tossed the gun and then when the police arrived he knew the exact location. And likeky was not "tossed" of it was on the dresser.

Also, because he seemed to instantly kmow the responding officers name....did he know the guy? If so, if they were friends, I would be concerned if their was any support given.. Like help to cover up some of the evidence.

I hope not.

Anonymous said...

Chief: yeah, I have the door open for them.

He has the door open - for them. Not that the door is unlocked. Not that they leave the door unlocked at night. His words are that he has the door open and it is open for them(the first responders).

This is an area I would seek more information. It appears that he must have left his wife to go open/unlock the door but it does not seem that he did so when on the phone with dispatch. If he opened the door prior to calling, why the delay in calling for help?


Kat said...

I hope he is convicted.

Something about the way he asked if she was having difficulty breathing made the hairs on my neck raise. It brought me back in time to when my mother was married to my brother's father. He beat the hell out of all of us. He would talk like that to my mom while holding the phone out of her reach, taunting her and ....i dont know what. It always scared me.
I watched her hold a kitchen knife to her stomach, threatening to kill herself if he didnt stop beating her. His response was, "Are you ok, dear? You are acting crazy. Do you want me to call your mom?". It happened outside in the backyard and it felt like he was acting in case neighbors could hear.

This case makes me feel like i did back then.

Anonymous said...

It is so sad Kat, to read how your mother and all of you were abused by your step-father, a sadistic abusive monster. My heart goes out to you, your mother and brother for the violence you all had to endure at his hands. I'm sure the physical and emotional scars run deep, never to be erased. I'm so sorry.

The tragedy is, there are a lot of abusive men like this, and women too. It is shocking the numbers of men who are physically abused by the women in their lives and for whatever their tormenting reasons are, they take it. I believe hell has a special place for these demonic abusers. Why the abused partner stays in an abusive relationship or goes back to their abuser will forever be a mystery to me. They never come to any good end.

It is the children in these relationships who never get over the psychological damage that is done to them. Often times the abused partner can move on in time but the child can never move past reliving the painful anxiety they suffered and watched their parent suffer.

Which brings me to wondering, where is the daughter of the McColloms? She would be grown and likely on her own by now, and not in the home the night of the shooting but I hope the GBI does a thorough job of interviewing her. I'm sure she could shed some light on the years of the abuse of her mother at the hands of her father she must have witnessed. Unbelievable, that after the divorce and Margaret was awarded the home, she actually went back to this evil b'stard. Now, he's nearly killed her and may have. I hope he rots.

Statement Analysis Blog said...

The analysis is updated.


Sus said...

The location of the gun is important to him..."to the side". In relation to what? The side of the bed? His side? Her side? On its side?

Which makes me focus on where was the gun first that he had to move it to the side.

Combined with "Everybody was sleeping." makes me think someone was sleeping, likely him, with his finger on the trigger of the gun. The gun was a glock. He had to have a round in the chamber and finger on the trigger. That is its safety feature.

In other words, the gun did probably fire "accidently.", but not as it hit the bed as he'd have us his hands.

As to charges, I think he will be charged. Probably not for attempted murder, but something in the reckless categories.

Anonymous said...

I think if anyone was sleeping Sus, it would have been his wife, Margaret; definitely not HIM. I'd lay you odds McCollom shot her intentionally. Name your $, I'll take you up on it....

Time will tell. Regardless as to any eventual charges, this was no accident.

John Mc Gowan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Mc Gowan said...

Going back and reading it again i noticed. He doesn't give her a title till prompted. What caught my eye though, is, when he introduces his rank, the 911 operator recognizes this, she then begins to address him as "Sir". Is this why he wanted them to know who he was. In other words. I am Chief of police, you will give me respect, you will believe what i am telling you, you are my subordinate, it was an "accident"

Sus said...

I'm open to that, Anon, and will not take you up on that bet. :-) She very well could have been asleep. I'm hearing from his words that he had nodded off, also, with a gun IN the bed. Not on the bed, but IN the bed. People get IN beds. Nowhere am I getting the gun was laying on the surface of the bed.

Knowing a someone has to put a round in the chamber of a glock, now I know he was holding a loaded gun in bed.

He says he "went to move it to the side." Now I know he was holding a loaded gun (ready to fire) in bed in a position that he wanted to move it "to the side." I know this action was not completed. He never tells us it was completed. Instead the gun fired. It can only fire when the trigger is pulled.

From his words I'm getting him falling asleep in bed holding a loaded gun with his finger on the trigger. With his history of DV and the evidence of a poor relationship within this call, I think we can surmise why.

Statement Analysis Blog said...

Readers must answer the question about distance.

1. Why does the caller have such need to avoid ownership of his gun?

2. Why does the caller have such need to distance himself from his wife?

Given the context, this is not good.

Tania Cadogan said...

He needs to distance himself from the gun as it was his gun his responsibility.
His wife was shot by his gun.

Initially we are told he went to move the gun and it went off.
This is an incomplete action, he does not say he moved the gun and it went off.
He does not say this as to say so would be up close.

He then goes on to say he shot her.
This is a complete action.
He does not say it was accidental, the operator does and he replies yes ( 911: She was shot twice accidental?)
If he doesn't say it, i can't say it for him.

Now we have a non accidental shooting, possibly twice.

Given his previous relationship history and the allegations made, he will be fully aware that this isn't going to look good.
He is a cop he knows the DV routine having seen it often enough on duty.

His wife is shot whether back to side /side to back i don't know, possibly twice.
Once could be an accident, twice is not.
He knows how to handle guns and guns safety.
he has a history of alleged DV against his wife.
He was in a relationship with another woman at some point (did the wife know of this and are there other women we don't know about?)

He knows he didn't render immediate first aid as he would have been trained to.
We have the red flags in his statement with lots of passivity, he knows the first thoughts going through the 911 operator and the coming cops is DV.

He knows he fits the pattern of an abuser and thus he tries to distance himself from it, even to using his work title to impress the operator.
It couldn't be DV i'm the chief of police, i'm a good guy.

I wonder, at what point was he forced to all 911 since he was was still alive?
Were others present telling him to call?
Was he hoping she was going to die and tell no tales?
Why did he go from her breathing and alert to having difficulty breathing?
What changed?
What was he doing or not doing?

The fact he never refers to her by name or reassures her or talks to her to say help is coming or even apologises is telling.

If it was an accident why isn't he apologising?
it would be instinctive to say i'm sorry , OMG i'm sorry stay with me help is coming etc.

He isn't apologising because it wasn't an accident?
He isn't apologising beause he has no remorse, nothing to be sorry about?
Is this a non verbal subtle demeaning of the victim?
I won't say sorry because you made me do it, if you had done... i wouldn't have gotten angry etc.

This would explain in part the distancing.

Ownership of the gun means ownership of what happened and he doesn't want that as it means guilt.

Ownership of the wife isn't going to happen as he has divorced her once before, there are allegations of DV.
A live wife means guilt since she can say what happened = guilt.

If she had died i wonder if the pronouns would have changed, if he would have taken ownership of her?

Lemon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lemon said...

I'm sorry for what you've gone through and that this case was a trigger for you.

Anonymous said...

Sus, we don't know for a fact that either McCollum and/or the gun was actually lying on the bed or in the bed, or that they ever had been near the bed that evening. We only know what he 'said', which could be or not be true. But we DO know that the gun was found lying on top of the dresser. This means he put it there. Maybe the loaded gun was never on or in the bed at all; maybe he was up at the time, not even on the bed, and deliberately grabbed his loaded gun from wherever he had put it and shot her.

You can't believe a word a domestic violence abuser says as they are always looking out for themselves. You have to go with the facts as they are. In this case, the fact is, that the gun was found on top of the dresser, laid there by human hands. It didn't just fly up there all by itself after supposedly having laid around on or in the bed just because he said so.

Anonymous said...

The wife of a Georgia police chief says she was asleep when her husband shot her in bed, and that she believes it was an accident.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said in a news release that Margaret McCollom told investigators Monday that she could provide no information about the shooting but said she believes it was not intentional.

Peachtree City Police Chief William McCollom called for help at 4:17am on New Year's Day, telling the dispatcher he had accidentally shot his sleeping wife in their bed.

Read more:

Anonymous said...

He will not be charged! It's Georgia, afterall, and...he was once a Fla. police officer.

Her death must have been his New Years resolution.

Bully. Abuser. Power tripper. Cheif of Puleeze!