Old woman shot and killed in Punta Gorda during Citizen Academy Class

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A tragedy occurred during a such session on Tuesday night when two participants were randomly selected from the group of 35 community members in attendance to be put through a “shoot/don’t shoot” scenario. Participant Mary Knowlton, 73, was struck with a live round  and was fatally injured during a role play 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. She deceased later at Lee Memorial Hospital. “I am devastated for everyone  involved in this unimaginable event,” Punta Gorda Police Chief Tom Lewis said. A press release from the department added that the officer was placed on administrative leave. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has been asked to conduct an investigation into the incident.

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