Punta Gorda police chief fired after being acquitted in woman’s accidental death

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Punta Gorda police chief has been fired just two months after a jury found him not guilty in the accidental shooting death of a woman at the police department, according to our NBC affiliate in the area.

A memo from the city manager obtained by our affiliate states that the city decided to discharge Lewis from his employment, effective Wednesday.

Now-former Police Chief Tom Lewis stood trial back in June for failing to prevent the death of Mary Knowlton at a Citizens Academy.

Knowlton, a 73-year-old librarian, was doing a “shoot don’t shoot” exercise with Officer Lee Coel when she was killed. The officer was supposed to fire blank bullets, but accidentally fired a live round that ricocheted off a car hood and killed Knowlton.

Lewis was found not guilty of culpable negligence.



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