Mary Knowlton

Apparent negligence by the Punta Gorda Police Department resulted in the shooting death of a senior citizen last August as she volunteered in a shoot/don’t shoot scenario at police headquarters. The officer who fired the shot has been charged with felony manslaughter. He was fired and is appealing his termination this week. The city’s police chief, Tom Lewis, is charged with misdemeanor culpable negligence. He is on paid administrative leave.

Photos: Punta Gorda Police Department Facebook and website

The Punta Gorda police officer who shot and killed a local woman in an August citizens demonstration has been charged with manslaughter. The city's police chief also faces a charge of culpable negligence in the shooting death of 73-year-old Mary Knowlton.


Update: Mary Knowlton's family released a statement about the settlement.   

Punta Gorda’s City Council will vote Wednesday to approve  a $2,064,234 settlement in the shooting death of 73-year-old Mary Knowlton during a “shoot-don’t shoot” demonstration at the Punta Gorda Police Department on August 9. 

Knowlton’s widower, Gary Knowlton, has already signed the settlement agreement negotiated with the city’s insurance carrier on behalf of her estate. The agreement states that “the City denies any wrongdoing” and admits no “liability or culpability”, in her death.

The Punta Gorda Police Department said it learned Monday that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has sent its criminal investigative report into the death of Mary Knowlton to the State Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors will make a decision on criminal charges. The 73-year-old retired librarian was shot and killed by Punta Gorda officer Lee Coel in August during a role playing scenario.