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PUNTA GORDA (CBSMiami) – The Punta Gorda Police Department reports a woman was accidentally killed Tuesday night during a “shoot/don’t shoot” scenario involving officers and civilians.
During the first scenario of the two-hour Citizen Police Academy, participant Mary Knowlton was struck with a live round. 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. Everyone involved in this accident is in a state of overwhelming shock and grief,” said Chief Tom Lewis.
Lewis contacted the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to respond and begin an investigation into the events surrounding this incident.
The involved officer has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of this investigation.
FDLE personnel are now on scene and have taken command of the investigation.
The city’s Citizen Academy is a free eight-session course offered to as many as 35 accepted applicants who are interested in learning local civics, according to Punta Gorda’s official website. The class meets biweekly on Tuesdays at different government buildings, though the website says courses are only offered from January to May.