Florida Librarian Shot To Death By Police in ‘Citizen Training Exercise’


Carlos Munoz
Herald Tribune


Two Punta Gorda Police Officers stand near the entrance to the police department, which was closed to the public Tuesday night, Aug. 9, 2016.

PUNTA GORDA – Punta Gorda Police Chief Tom Lewis called the fatal shooting Tuesday of a woman participating in the Citizens Police Academy at police headquarters a “horrible accident.”

Mary Knowlton was killed.

“Our entire police department and all of our city leaders are absolutely devastated for everyone involved in this unimaginable event,” Lewis said. “I am asking if you pray, you pray for Mary’s husband and family and for all the officers and witnesses that were involved in this incident. Everyone involved is in a state of overwhelming shock and grief.”

The Punta Gorda Police said 35 people from the community were taking part in course, which offers civilians an opportunity to learn about the day-to-day work of police officers.

Knowlton was one of two people randomly selected to participate in a “shoot/don’t shoot” scenario, where they would make decisions to use simulated lethal force in a “live role play,” according to the police department.