PUNTA GORDA, Florida — A woman was accidentally shot and killed during a community police academy exercise in Punta Gorda, Florida.
Mary Knowlton was shot by a police officer during a “shoot/don’t shoot” role-play scenario at the Punta Gorda Citizen Police Academy, Police Chief Tom Lewis said at a news conference.
Knowlton was a participant in a two-hour training course designed by the city when the accident occurred. The course Tuesday was attended by 35 civilians.
Lewis said the gun used in the active shooter scenario role play mistakenly had a live round in it. Knowlton was transported to a local hospital after the shooting and was pronounced dead.
“I am devastated for everyone involved in this unimaginable event,” Lewis said.
“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.”
He said the Florida Department of Law Enforcement had been contacted to initiate an investigation into the incident.
In the United States, 33,636 people died from firearm-related incidents in 2013, the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.