Victor Hill, the sheriff of Clayton County, just south of Atlanta, is no stranger to controversy. In 2013, he faced 25 charges of corruption amid allegations that he used his office for personal gain between 2004 and 2008, but a jury acquitted him of all charges.
Last weekend, the popular sheriff stepped into another controversy when he shot a woman at a model home in an area of metro Atlanta over 40 miles away from Hill’s jurisdiction.
Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill shot and critically injured a woman inside a model home Sunday night, according to police. But when officers arrived at the Gwinnett County subdivision, Hill declined to provide any information on what happened and was allowed to leave.
“He refused to cooperate and give any statement,” Sgt. Brian Doan with Gwinnett police said.
The woman, a Paran Realty agent who worked inside the 3,800-square-foot, Lawrenceville-area model home, was shot in the abdomen and taken to Gwinnett Medical Center, according to police. Her name was not released late Sunday, but she and Hill were acquaintances, police said.
Though Hill initially refused to cooperate with investigators, he did turn in his gun and the clothing he was wearing at the time of the shooting to the Gwinnett County district attorney’s office the next day.
“I asked the police department not to take him into custody at that point, to make sure we didn’t mess it up at the beginning,” District Attorney Danny Porter said. “He had already asserted the right to remain silent.”
Though Hill called 911 at 5:39 p.m. Sunday, his attorney told investigators that the sheriff was “too shaken to give a statement,” Porter said. The sheriff turned over his clothing and two guns, but still had not talked to investigators late Monday afternoon.
Gwinnett County Police Department Corporal Deon Washington did not know the nature of the relationship between Hill and the victim, 43-year-old Gwenevere McCord, but said that they were acquainted. McCord’s office was at the model home, and it appears that Hill had visited her there before, Porter said.
For his part, Hill has maintained that the shooting was accidental and that the gun discharged while he was “practicing police tactics,” according to a statement from District Attorney Porter.
“It’s pretty clear it didn’t just discharge in a holster,” Porter said. “It’s pretty clear he had a gun out.”
“You have to ask yourself, ‘Why did he have a gun out on Sunday afternoon in a model home where the public can come in?’” Porter said.
While the investigation is ongoing, the Clayton County Commission has sought to reassure citizens that public safety is paramount while the sheriff is mired in controversy.
Featured image courtesy of WSB Radio