Florida officer charged in shooting death of MN native during citizen police academy

Mary Knowlton was killed during a "shoot/don't shoot" scenario.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Charges have been filed against two Florida police officers in the death of a Minnesota native who was fatally shot during a citizen police academy demonstration last August.

Mary Knowlton, a 73-year-old retired librarian originally from Austin, Minnesota, attended the demonstration hosted by the Punta Gorda Police Department. She was playing the victim in a "shoot/don't shoot" scenario when officer Lee Coel, who was playing a "bad guy," mistakenly shot her with an actual bullet, killing her.

In the days following Knowlton's death, Punta Gorda Police Chief Tom Lewis said he was "100 percent accountable" for what happened. And on Wednesday, the State's Attorney's Office in Florida announced charges against Lewis and Coel.

LIVE: State Attorney's Office announces decision on Punta Gorda Citizens Academy shooting death.

Posted by Adam Wright WINK News on Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Coel was charged with felony manslaughter and was arrested, while Lewis was charged with culpable negligence, a misdemeanor, and was given a summons to appear in court, according to USA Today.

WINK News says Coel has been on paid administrative leave since the shooting, and notes he has a history of complacency, insubordination and questionable decisions. If he's convicted, he could face up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine, USA Today says.

Lewis could spend up to 60 days in jail if he's found guilty, the paper adds.

The City of Punta Gorda approved more than $2 million in a settlement with the Knowlton family back in November, reports note.

Next Up

storm, severe weather

'Particularly dangerous situation' issued by NWS as potential derecho nears

Storms could produce damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes.

Flickr - Minnesota state senate chamber - Matt Lewis

Calls for investigation after former DFL staffer details sexual harassment

Cynthia Callais provided her account to the Minnesota Reformer.

Motzko and Schuneman

Driver in Orono crash that killed Motzko, Schuneman is in custody

The 51-year-old reportedly turned himself into police Wednesday.

Miguel Sano

Twins smash 7 homers, still lose to Tigers

It was a wild afternoon at Target Field.

Pixabay - school - classroom

Decision on school mask mandates will be up to local districts

It will not come from the health or education departments, an official said Wednesday.

spices recall

McCormick recalling some spice mixes sold in Minnesota

The company issued the voluntary recall over possible salmonella risk.

the mayo clinic - edit

Mayo Clinic named No. 1 on 'Best Hospitals' list

It's the sixth year in a row the Rochester hospital has been named the best of the best.

36262 Ottertail Rd, Battle Lake, Minnesota - September 2009

Bystander on dock sees teen struggling in water, jumps in to save him

The teen kept going under the surface near a dam on Otter Tail Lake.

castaway club camp

Cluster of COVID-19 cases tied to camp in western Minnesota

Ten cases have been reported among staff, report states.

Screen Shot 2021-07-28 at 12.16.13 PM

Rodgers pummels Packers front office in viral press conference

"The rules are the same for most people, but every now and then there are some outliers."

Pexels - mother child mask covid

MDH urging that all wear face masks, 12+ get vaccinated for upcoming school year

State health officials revealed their COVID-19 recommendations for 2021-22.

sunfish 1

Gallery: Aspen-inspired estate on private lake is yours for $4.95M

Each bedroom has its own bathroom. And there are four laundry rooms.

Related

City fires Florida officer who fatally shot MN native during a police drill

Last August, Mary Knowlton was killed during a citizen police academy in Florida.

Minnesota native killed during Florida citizen police academy session

She was a retired librarian from Austin, Minnesota.

Mary Knowlton

Probation, no jail for ex-Florida officer who shot MN native

Mary Knowlton was killed during a "shoot/don't shoot" drill.

Police arrest a suspect in the shooting of 2 Iowa officers

Both officers were found shot dead in their squad cars.

Eagan security officer shoots armed robbery suspect dead

Every year, around 70 private security guards die on the job, many of them the result of shootings or assaults.

Update: Police identify the 3 civilians and officer killed in Wisconsin shootings

A string of shootings happened across three different Wisconsin towns.