On Sunday evening, a Georgia sheriff allegedly shot a woman in the stomach inside a model home in Lawrenceville, Ga. Police said Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill “refused to cooperate” when investigators arrived on the scene. He still hasn’t been arrested or questioned.
Hill and the woman, identified by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a 43-year-old real estate agent named Gwenevere McCord, were the only two in the model home at the time of the shooting and were apparently acquaintances.
After calling the shooting in just after 5:30 pm Sunday, Hill reportedly refused to cooperate or give statement to responding Gwinnett police officers. As of Monday afternoon, he still hadn’t given a statement to police and has not been arrested.
Despite his refusal to answer questions from investigators, police allowed Hill to leave the scene on his own. According to Georgia law, “a sitting sheriff cannot be charged except by a warrant issued by a Superior Court judge,” Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter said Monday morning in an interview with AM750 and 95.5 FM News/Talk WSB, a news partner of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“You have to have the warrant issued before the sheriff can be arrested,” Porter said. “What I’m trying to figure out is, does that apply to a sheriff all the time, or only in the performance of his official duty.”
He said police Monday were trying to reconstruct the incident, “which is a little more difficult because Sheriff Hill declined to give a statement yesterday.”
Porter told WSB he’ll make a decision “on what, if any, appropriate charges there are” once authorities have a better idea what happened inside the model home. He estimated that process would take a “few days.” In the meantime, Hill remains free and—because Gov. Nathan Deal is the only person in the state who can fire him—employed.
“I only know what I’ve read in the newspaper and heard on the radio,” Deal told the AJC. “It’s very premature. I do not have the ability to remove anybody — sheriff or otherwise — at least until he’s indicted. He has not been indicted, and whether or not he will be is a question that remains to be seen. If and when that happens, we’ll follow the course and the process that the law allows.”
[Image via AP]