Mary Knowlton was participating in a citizen police academy drill when she was shot several times by a police officer.
The community volunteer from Florida suffered multiple bullet wounds and was killed during a “shoot, don’t shoot” role-play scenario. In the act, the officer was playing the “bad guy” during the Punta Gorda Police Department’s citizen academy on Tuesday. Sources said that more than two dozen people saw the shooting.
According to Heavy, Mary Knowlton was a retired librarian. She moved to Florida with her husband from Minnesota. The mother of two, she volunteered for the Police Academy demonstration and was given the “victim’s” role, reported by Fox News.
After the incident, she was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital where she was 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,” Chief Tom Lewis said. “Everyone involved in this accident is in a state of overwhelming shock and grief.”
Lewis contacted the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to respond and initiate an investigation surrounding the incident. According to the Punta Gorda Police Department’s official Facebook page, Officer Lee Coel was identified as the officer involved. He had been placed on administrative leave until the result of the investigation is out.
Knowlton son Steven said that they are currently going through a devastating time. He said that his mother was a saint, and now they lost a wonderful human being.
Knowlton and her husband were married for more than 50 years and have two sons. She was a board member for the Friends of Punta Gorda Library, according to its website. Knowlton’s official Facebook page states she was a librarian in Minnesota before she moved to Punta Gorda.
The Facebook page also says that she studied Library Science at Minnesota State University, Mankato.