PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — Surveillance video has been released that shows the fatal shooting of a woman during a police “shoot/don’t shoot” demonstration last August in Punta Gorda.
The video shows the shooting went shockingly awry when the officer shot and killed a 73-year-old former librarian with what police said was real ammunition used by mistake at an event designed to bring police and the public together.
WHIO-TV 7 obtained a copy of the video. It clearly shows then-Punta Gorda Officer Lee Coel, playing the part of an armed suspect, raising his weapon and firing several times at Mary Knowlton, who died.
WHIO reports the FDLE investigation found no evidence Coel intended to shoot Knowlton. He was terminated from the police department, and, WHIO reports, will appeal his termination at a hearing scheduled for this week. He has pleaded not guilty to a felony manslaughter charge, according to WHIO.
Punta Gorda Police Chief Tom Lewis is charged with second-degree misdemeanor culpable negligence and is on paid administrative leave, according to WHIO.
Background story: Former librarian, 73, accidentally killed when Florida police officer uses live ammo in community exercise (8/10/16)