Released surveillance shootage shows Florida officer fatally shooting civilian during gun training

Danny Woods
April 21, 2017

At one point Coel pulls out a firearm and fires one shot at Knowlton, who falls to the ground. He's facing charges in the shooting death of 73-year old Mary Knowlton.

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

The edited video released to the media does not show the actual shooting. Other officers then jumped into action to call the paramedics as Knowlton's friends stepped back in shock, not believing what they had seen.

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

"There was maybe 5 people who were trying to save her", said Gary Knowlton.

"He turned her over, and she looked disgusting, blood all over the place, and I thought, 'Oh my God, '" Gary recalled. Blood all over the place.

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Gary Knowlton said after the shooting police would not allow him to travel with Mary in the ambulance, sent him to the wrong hospital and no one would immediately tell him her condition. "I don't know if she's alive or dead, '" he said.

The video shows Coel, pretending to be a criminal in a hoodie and mask, being approached by Knowlton as a group of citizens stand nearby. Attorney's representing Coel and the city human resources manager who recommended Coel's termination held a hearing Thursday as he appeals the decision.

In February, Coel was arrested and charged with manslaughter with a firearm in the shooting.

He was sacked from the Punta Gorda Police Department, but appealed his termination.

Punta Gorda Police Chief Tom Lewis is charged with second-degree misdemeanor culpable negligence and is on paid administrative leave, according to WHIO.

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