Punta Gorda, Florida (WBBH) – There are stunning new details about a 73-year-old Florida librarian who was accidentally shot and killed by a Punta Gorda police officer during a gun demonstration.
New policy documents show that boxes of live ammunition and blanks were comingled where the gun was loaded. It’s one of many mistakes that led to the shooting of Mary Knowlton. An investigation is still underway to determine what else went wrong.
It also turns out there was no policy in place for community demonstrations, something Chief Tom Lewis is now correcting.
“Without question, this was devastating,” Lewis said. “Typically, the police department are the ones who show up and take care of your pain. We’re not typically the cause of it.”
From now on, real ammo and blanks will be stored separately. The chief explained why they were stored together before.
“As you know, we are a small department. The size of our department is probably one of the most common sizes across the country. Typically you have one armory, where you have all weapons, all ammo,” Lewis explained.
In addition, live weapons will now be banned during scenario-based training.
The chief also admits some have questioned his leadership, but he said he is staying put.
“To think that it’s a good idea to create instability at the police department right now, I don’t think is very wise. I made a commitment to this community when I accepted the chief of police job, and I plan on keeping that commitment,” Lewis said.
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