FREAK ACCIDENT

Cop Who Killed Woman in Gun Demo Was Fired from Last Department

The police officer who accidentally shot and killed a 73-year-old retired librarian during a citizens’ academy gun demonstration this week in Florida has a spotty record with previous police departments. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Punta Gorda officer Lee Coel, 28, was asked to resign after 14 months as a Miramar cop in 2013, after he failed to successfully complete a field training program. More recently, Coel was accused of using excessive force with his police dog after an incident that left a 25-year-old man severely injured. Dashcam footage showed Coel’s K-9 animal biting the man for two minutes. Coel accidentally killed the elderly woman, Mary Knowlton, during a role-playing scenario meant to demonstrate the quick decision-making needed for officers in the field. The demonstration was not supposed to include live ammunition; Knowlton was shot multiple times. Thirty-five people were in attendance for the fatal shooting, including Knowlton’s 75-year-old husband, and Coel’s police chief.