Southeast

Georgia sheriff charged with reckless conduct in shooting of real estate agent

This undated photo provided by the Gwinnett County Sheriffs Department shows Victor Hill. The Atlanta-area sheriff was charged with a misdemeanor Wednesday in the shooting of a real estate agent at a model home. (Gwinnett County Sheriffs Department via AP)

This undated photo provided by the Gwinnett County Sheriffs Department shows Victor Hill. The Atlanta-area sheriff was charged with a misdemeanor Wednesday in the shooting of a real estate agent at a model home. (Gwinnett County Sheriffs Department via AP)

An Atlanta-area sheriff was charged with a misdemeanor Wednesday in the shooting of a real estate agent at a model home.

Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill is charged with reckless conduct in the shooting, which critically wounded real estate agent Gwenevere McCord, 43, Gwinnett County Sheriff's spokeswoman Shannon Volkodav said. He was released on a $2,950 bond Wednesday night.

Authorities have said the two were alone in a model home roughly 50 miles northeast of where Hill's office is located when the shooting happened Sunday.

Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter said he has fundamental questions about Hill's account, which was that he was conducting "police training exercises" inside the home when he accidentally shot McCord. The location of the house is well outside his jurisdiction.

McCord, who was shot in the abdomen, was physically unable to tell investigators what happened and Hill refused to do so, Porter said Wednesday. She and Hill were alone in the house at the time and Hill left the scene without giving an official statement, investigators have said.

What investigators found inside the model home raises questions about the sheriff's explanation in his 911 call, Porter said.

"The statement on the 911 tape was that they were doing police training exercises," Porter said.

The placement of some items at the scene, he said, "sort of make you think about that."

"I want to look at that."

Police have not released the 911 call, and Porter said he couldn't go into specifics about the evidence found at the scene.

Porter said he was told by Hill's lawyer that the sheriff would not be speaking with investigators.

"It would certainly assist the investigation if we had his side of the facts, but that's his choice to make," Porter said. "I can't force him to."

Lawyer Drew Findling, who has represented Hill previously, didn't return a phone message from The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Hill did give his cellphone to investigators at the scene and also turned over the clothing he was wearing at the time of the shooting and both guns he had at the time, Porter said.

Victor Hill's time as sheriff in the county south of Atlanta has been filled with controversy. On his first day a decade ago, he fired more than two dozen deputies. He also used a military tank on drug raids as part of a tough-on-crime message.

He was voted out of office in 2008, but won it back again in 2012 despite facing more than two dozen criminal charges in a corruption case. A jury later acquitted him of all 27 charges, including theft and giving false statements. That cleared the way for Hill to continue as sheriff.