The story behind the shooting death of a 73-year-old retired librarian by a police officer during a citizens academy meeting in Punta Gorda just keeps getting worse.
Officer Lee Coel was put on administrative leave Tuesday as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigates why real ammunition was used by mistake at an event created to bring police and the public together in Punta Gorda.
Who had the responsibility of ensuring that the safety rings were installed in this revolver, and who had the responsibility of inspecting the ammunition to ensure it was only loaded with marker rounds? The News-Press reported that he left for failing to complete an agency field training program, according to the FDLE.
Steve Knowlton on Wednesday said at his parents" home in Punta Gorda, Fla., that he has forgiven the officer involved in the "shoot/don't shoot' demo death of his mother, Mary Knowlton. Before that, Coel was with the Broward County Sheriff's Office.
"(Lewis) immediately contacted the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to respond and begin an investigation into the events surrounding this incident", Kunik said.
"I was demanding that he be fired months ago, and I was warning people he was going to kill somebody", Weinberg told The News-Press.
Scott Weinberg is representing a man who said he was mauled by Coel's K-9 during an arrest in November.
The arrest occurred on October 30, 2015. Coel had initially pulled Schumacher over for riding a bike without a headlight or taillight. "We've got officers assigned to him to make sure he's psychologically stable". He said most departments do not use weapons in "shoot/don't shoot" scenarios that are capable of firing a live round. "I obviously can't say it's easy to forgive, but it needs to be done".
Paquin said officers called 911 and first responders appeared within two minutes to rush Knowlton to Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers.
Coel was not disciplined for the incident. McFarland also questioned why it took so long to release Coel's name to the public in the Knowlton shooting. "I'm not saying that, but he does not have proper skills to be a police officer".
"The unimaginable has just happened", (Lewis) said, referring to the live round being fired during the demonstration.
Later Wednesday afternoon, Heck identified the officer as Lee Coel and said he has worked for the department since 2014. She said Coel frequently gave department presentations and tours, "specifically role-playing in these shoot/don't shoot scenarios". "Historically, it fosters a better understanding for what officers face during an intense situation, and leads to informative dialogue between the community and officers who act as role players".
"It's horrifying actually, to think that that could happen", said Matthews Police public information officer Tim Aycock.
Corrects day of shooting to Tuesday, not Monday. "At this time there are no further details available".