Chief Tom Lewis called Tuesday night’s incident a “horrible accident.” He said the shooting happened during a “shoot or don’t shoot” scenario in which they use simulated lethal force in a live role play.
Two participants were randomly selected. Lewis said there were approximately 35 people in attendance.
Lewis said the victim, 73-year-old Mary Knowlton, was “mistakenly struck with a live round.”
Knowlton was transported to Lee Memorial and pronounced dead.
Multiple witnesses say the officer involved in the shooting was Officer Lee Coel.
Controversy surrounded Officer Coel earlier this year after a man sued the City of Punta Gorda and the police department claiming Cole and his K9 went too far during a traffic stop arrest. A video showed Coel sending his K-9 to help take down a bicyclist, and then allowed the dog to stay latched on for nearly two minutes.
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