Surveillance video shows Florida officer fatally shoot civilian during gun class

Mary Knowlton. Source WVSN

Mary Knowlton. Source WVSN

There are new developments involving a Punta Gorda police officer who was sacked for fatally shooting a woman during a citizens academy training exercise.

Video obtained by WINK, shows Mary Knowlton walking in front of the group of civilians to take part in a "Shoot-Don't Shoot" scenario. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement report states that most of the class thought it was all part of the exercise. Coel then runs over to Knowlton, appearing to realize what had just happened. In the video you can see as Knowlton clutches her stomach and doubles over before falling to the ground.

Knowlton was participating in the August 9 exercise created to show citizens the split-second decisions police officers must make when the shooting happened.

As Knowlton got closer to Coel, who was wearing a mask, he retreated to the front bumper of the vehicle where he grabbed his personal revolver and fired four shots.

"He turned her over and she looked frightful, blood all over the place, and I thought, 'Oh my God, '" Knowlton said.

"I was maybe 10 feet away from her and watched this patrolman who was the bad guy aim right at her and shoot", Gary Knowlton said. Blood all over the place.

He said following the shooting, police wouldn't let him in the ambulance with his wife, sent him to the wrong hospital and didn't immediately tell him her condition. "I don't know if she's alive or dead, '" he said.

An FDLE investigation found that Coel thought the gun was loaded with blanks, not real bullets. He was terminated from the police department, and will appeal his termination at a hearing scheduled for this week. Coel is charged with felony manslaughter, and the chief with misdemeanor culpable negligence. But Brantley observed the chief has been put on indefinite paid administrative leave pending the outcome of those criminal charges.

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