What to Know
- James MacColl, a former Wilmington Police corporal, is charged with providing a false statement to law enforcement, tampering with physical evidence and official misconduct.
- MacColl, 39, is accused of changing the barrel of his gun and then lying about it after shooting an armed carjacking suspect two years ago.
- Officials said MacColl’s alleged actions forced prosecutors to drop the then-pending carjacking charges against the suspect.
A former Wilmington police officer is accused of changing the barrel of his gun and then lying about it after shooting an armed carjacking suspect two years ago.
On Tuesday a grand jury indicted James MacColl, a former Wilmington Police corporal, on two felonies and one misdemeanor.
MacColl, 39, is charged with providing a false statement to law enforcement, tampering with physical evidence and official misconduct.
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In February 2019, MacColl responded to a 911 call for a reported armed carjacking. MacColl chased after the suspect, Yahim Harris, of Wilmington, Delaware, and ultimately shot him.
During a use of force investigation from the Division of Civil Rights and Public Trust (DCRPT), officials discovered ballistics analysis which they said revealed discrepancies between the bullets fired from MacColl’s service weapon and the barrel of his gun. MacColl, who had previously been the center of a use of force investigation after the deadly 2015 shooting of Jeremy McDole, had initially denied changing the barrel of his weapon, investigators said.
While the discrepancy didn’t impact the legality of MacColl’s use of force, the DCRPT still disclosed it in a public report that was issued in November 2019, investigators said.
The Department of Justice later learned of an interview in which MacColl admitted to switching his service gun’s standard issue five-twist barrel with an aftermarket six-twist barrel in 2017. While MacColl claimed he hadn’t changed his barrel when he shot Harris, he didn’t explain how the barrel of his weapon changed prior to its analysis, according to officials.
In a memo filed in Superior Court on March 3, 2020, the State accused MacColl, who knew that his gun would be seized and produced in an official proceeding, of knowingly and unlawfully trying to conceal the use of an aftermarket barrel by swapping out his weapon’s barrel.
Officials said MacColl’s alleged actions forced prosecutors to drop the then-pending carjacking charges against Harris.
“The defendant’s staggering lack of candor not only misled investigators inside the Department of Justice and Wilmington Police Department but derailed and terminated the prosecution of an alleged violent crime,” Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings said.
MacColl faces up to five years in prison if convicted.
“Police have a difficult job, but at a bare minimum we expect honesty,” Attorney General Jennings said. “Police who break the law commit two injustices: the crime itself, and damage to the public trust that lingers long after a trial.”
NBC10 reached out to MacColl and his attorney for comment. We have not yet heard back from them.