Welp, it looks like this is another tragic case of Florida just not being able to help itself.
A 73-year-old librarian was shot and killed in front of 34 spectators by a police officer on Tuesday after he ‘mistakenly struck her with a live round’ during a role play exercise at the Citizen Police Academy that intended to teach residents when not to shoot, ironically.
According to Daily Mail, the officer, whose name has yet to be released, was playing the role of a ‘bad guy’, was supposed to fire blanks at Mary Knowlton to ‘simulate lethal force,’ but live rounds were loaded in the gun instead. A photographer at the scene reported that the officer shot multiple successive rounds before realizing they weren’t blanks.
Mary Knowlton’s son, Steven, labeled the days following his mother’s death a ‘devastating time’ for the family while Knowlton’s niece took to Facebook to post: ‘She will be forever missed by all.’
Lieutenant Katie Heck from Punta Gorda police department said the cop has been placed on administrative leave, pending an investigation.
Punta Gorda Police Chief Tom Lewis told the press:
‘Our entire police department and all of our city leaders are absolutely devastated for everyone involved in this unimaginable event.
I am asking that if you pray, you pray for Mary’s husband and family and for all the officers and witnesses that involved this incident.
Everyone involved is in an overwhelming state of shock and grief.’ (via Daily Mail)
The identity of the shooter is set to be released later today.
[h/t Daily Mail]