Surveillance shows fatal citizens' academy shooting in FL - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Surveillance shows fatal citizens' academy shooting in FL

Newly released video shows a Punta Gorda, FL police officer shoot and kill a woman during a citizens' shooting class in August . The officer was fired and will appeal his termination Thursday. (Source: WINK/CNN/FL State Attorney's Office/family photos) Newly released video shows a Punta Gorda, FL police officer shoot and kill a woman during a citizens' shooting class in August . The officer was fired and will appeal his termination Thursday. (Source: WINK/CNN/FL State Attorney's Office/family photos)

PUNTA GORDA, FL (WINK/CNN) - Newly released video from a security camera in a police department parking lot shows how events unfolded when a woman was shot and killed during a police-led shooting class  Aug. 9, 2016.

Retired librarian Mary Knowlton stepped to the front of the crowd to participate in a “shoot/don’t shoot” scenario. Officer Lee Coel played the suspect. In the video, he can be seen firing his personal gun at Knowlton as she drops to the ground. That part of the video is too disturbing to air.

Afterward, it took a moment for anyone to respond. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement report states that most of the class thought it was all part of the exercise.

Officer Coel then ran over to Knowlton, realizing she had actually been shot with real bullets. Other officers then jumped into action to call the paramedics as Knowlton’s friends stepped back in shock, not believing what they had seen. Mary Knowlton’s husband, Gary, saw it happen.

“I was maybe 10 feet away from her and watched this patrolmen, who was the bad guy. Aimed right at her and shot," Gary Knowlton said. “He turned her over and she looked horrible. Blood all over the place. And I thought, oh my God. There was maybe five people who were trying to save her,”

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.

“All I said was, ‘I want to find my wife. I don’t know if she’s alive or dead,’” he said.

The FDLE investigated and found no evidence that Coel intended to shoot and kill Knowlton. He was terminated from the police department. Coel will appeal his termination at a hearing Thursday. He has pleaded not guilty to a felony first degree manslaughter charge.

Punta Gorda Police Chief Tom Lewis is charged with second degree misdemeanor culpable negligence. He is on paid administrative leave.

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