By David Beasley


ATLANTA (Reuters) - A Georgia sheriff who said he accidentally shot a friend while practicing police tactics pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of reckless conduct on Tuesday, his attorney said.


Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill, 51, was sentenced to 12 months probation and fined $1,000 after critically injuring Gwenevere McCord, a friend and realtor, in May 2015 inside a model home in suburban Atlanta.


Under Georgia's first offender law, his probation was automatically canceled after he paid the fine on Tuesday morning, said Mike Puglise, Hill's attorney.


A grand jury indicted Hill on the reckless conduct charge last year.


Hill told a 911 operator that his gun had accidentally discharged while he was "practicing police tactics," Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter said at the time. McCord survived her injuries.

Hill and Porter did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment.

In a statement posted on the Facebook page of the Clayton County Sheriff's Office shortly after the shooting, Hill called the incident "a tragic and heartbreaking accident" and referred to McCord as "very dear to me."

Hill was elected to a third term as sheriff earlier this year. Puglise said Tuesday's plea would not affect Hill's ability to continue serving in the job.

"Obviously he has a vote of confidence from the people of Clayton County," the attorney said.

(Editing by Letitia Stein and Paul Simao)