73-year-old Woman Killed in Accidental Shooting at Police Academy Class

PUNTA GORDA, FL — A woman was killed in an accidental shooting Tuesday evening at the Punta Gorda Citizen Police Academy.

Chief Tom Lewis called it a “horrible accident,” saying the shooting occurred during a “shoot or don’t shoot” scenario in which they use simulated lethal force in a live role play, according to NBC2. Two participants were randomly selected. Lewis said there were approximately 35 people in attendance.

WINK News reports the victim has been identified as 73-year-old Mary Knowlton. She was “mistakenly struck with a live round,” Lewis said.

She was transported to Lee Memorial and pronounced dead.

“I am devastated for everyone involved in this unimaginable event. If you pray, please pray for Mary’s family, and for the officers who were involved. Everyone involved in this accident is in a state of overwhelming shock and grief,” Lewis said.

The officer involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative leave until the investigation is complete. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the incident.


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