He was a highly trained officer, or so she thought, when 73-year-old Mary Knowlton followed his lead during the Punta Gorda Citizen’s Academy in Southwest Florida Tuesday night.
She was told not to worry, the gun wasn’t loaded with real bullets, as she participated in “shoot, don’t shoot” role playing scenario in front of more than 30 witnesses attending the academy to learn more about the inner workings of their local government.
The Punta Gorda police officer ended up killing her after shooting her several times with live rounds in what the police chief is calling a “horrible accident.”
He did, however, ask us to pray for Knowlton’s family, the witnesses to her death and the rest of the police officers on the force.
But we need answers instead of prayers.
Specifically, how in the world can an officer “forget” to replace his bullets with blanks for the exercise in which he was playing the “bad guy” and Knowlton was playing the victim?
Why is even a real gun used for this type of exercise?
Why wasn’t the officer following the two most important rules of gun safety, which is to always assume the gun is loaded and to never point a gun at anybody you are not prepared to shoot?
And why haven’t they released his name so we can determine if this officer has a history of recklessness?
And lastly, why aren’t more witnesses providing his name, specifically, the photographer from the Charlotte Sun, who should also be posting his photos?
Or did police seize her camera or worst, did she voluntarily hand her images over to them?
Chief Lewis said the officer has been placed on paid administrative leave while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigates the incident.