A Punta Gorda, Fla., police officer accidentally shot and killed a woman during a role-playing exercise at a “Citizens Academy” Tuesday night, reports the Fort Myers News-Press. Mary Knowlton, 73, was shot during a scenario in which the officer was playing a “bad guy” and fired several times at the woman who was supposed to be playing the victim, according to Sue Paquin, a photographer who was covering the event for the Charlotte Sun.
Punta Gorda police hosted about 35 citizens for a two-hour Citizen Police Academy. Two participants were selected for a “shoot/don’t shoot” scenario in which they make decisions on using simulated lethal force in role-playing, according to police. The Sun said the woman was shot several times with live ammunition instead of blank rounds. The officer involved, who was not immediately identified, was placed on administrative leave. Police Chief Tom Lewis asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate.