eriff Victor Hill has been a lightning rod for controversy since he fired 27 deputies on his first day in office a decade ago and then used a military tank on drug raids in suburban Atlanta’s Clayton County.
He was voted out of office in 2008, but won it back again in 2012 despite facing felony corruption charges.
Now, police in suburban Gwinnett County say he shot a woman Sunday in a reported accident, but refused to speak with investigators at the scene.
The woman, 43-year-old real estate agent Gwenevere McCord of Jonesboro, was listed in critical condition Monday, police said.
Hill and McCord were alone in the model home that’s listed at $329,990, and he’s the one who called 911 around 5:39 p.m., police said. However, police said he kept mum after that.
“He refuses to give any statements,” Gwinnett County police Sgt. Brian Doan told reporters late Sunday.
Hill was released with no charges.
The shooting scene is about 50 miles northeast of Jonesboro, where Hill’s office is located.
Three lawyers who have previously represented Hill didn’t immediately respond to phone messages and emails from The Associated Press Monday.
Representatives of Paran Homes, which is listing the house, didn’t immediately return a phone message left Monday.
Hill took a tough-on-crime stance in his first term, raising his profile in part by using a tank owned by the agency during drug raids.
He was unseated in 2008 after a single term, and an indictment in early 2012 accused him of using the office of sheriff for his personal gain. Despite the corruption charges, voters return him to office.
The governor declined to convene the panel, saying the law applies only to those indicted while in office. Hill’s indictment focused on his time in office but was filed when he was a private citizen.
At trial in August 2012, Hill’s attorneys argued that he simply rubbed some people the wrong way, and called the accusations against him politically motivated.
Special prosecutor Layla Zon said Hill took his county car on out-of-state trips paid for in part using a county credit card. Two young women went with him, she said: one a former county employee and one who still worked for the sheriff’s office but who was on paid medical leave that Hill arranged.
But the jurors acquitted him of all 27 charges, including theft and giving false statements.
That cleared the way for Hill to continue as sheriff of the county in Atlanta’s southern suburbs. Since then, he’s mostly stayed out of the headlines until this week.
Late Sunday, police in Gwinnett County said investigators have been consulting with the district attorney’s office and no charges have been filed in the ongoing investigation. Possible charges against Hill would proceed differently since he’s a sheriff, police said.
“When you’re an active sheriff in the state of Georgia, there are certain legal requirements and steps that have to be taken,” Doan, the Gwinnett County police spokesman, told reporters at the scene. “It’s not just an average citizen where you can take out a warrant for their arrest.”
Terry Norris, executive director of the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association, said arresting a law enforcement officer for any action taken as part of his duties requires that an arrest warrant be obtained from a superior court judge, a state court judge or a probate court judge, not from a municipal or magistrate court judge. But if the incident doesn’t stem from a law enforcement officer’s professional duties, he should be treated like any other citizen, Norris said.
Norris said he didn’t know enough about the current situation to comment.
“We don’t really know anything about it, honestly,” he said. “We know what the media reports have said. I’d certainly like to know more.”