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News Story
Updated: 10/03/2017 03:15:04PM

Punta Gorda: Internal affairs investigation ongoing

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Andrew West/The News-Press

Punta Gorda police officer Lee Coel Is escorted out of the Charlotte County Jail with his attorney Jerry Berry after posting bond. He was charged with felony manslaughter in the death of Mary Knowlton.

SUN PHOTO BY SUE PAQUIN
Punta Gorda Police Chief Tom Lewis with Mary Knowlton and Capt. Jeffrey Woodard in the background during the Citizens Academy moments before Officer Lee Coel shot and killed Knowlton.

PHOTO CREDIT MICHAEL HIRSH

Punta Gorda Police Chief Tom Lewis (left), confers with his attorney, Stephen Romine, during a hearing June 2. Lewis was acquitted of culpable negligence in connection with Mary Knowlton's death.

PHOTO PROVIDED

Katie Heck

SUN PHOTO BY MICHELE HASKELL
Former Punta Gorda Police captain Jeffrey Woodard testifies during Police Chief Tom Lewis' trial.

SUN PHOTO BY ANNE EASKER

Punta Gorda Police Chief Tom Lewis faces the jury panel at the start of his trial Friday.

PHOTO PROVIDED
Punta Gorda Police Chief Tom Lewis.

SUN PHOTO BY CARLOS GALARZA-VEVE

Punta Gorda Police Chief Tom Lewis responds to questions from the Sun on Wednesday.

SUN PHOTO PROVIDED BY MICHELE HASKELL

Punta Gorda City Manager Howard Kunik speaks to the press on Wednesday as a somber Chief of police, Tom Lewis listens.

SUN FILE PHOTO BY MICHELE HASKELL

Punta Gorda Police Chief Tom Lewis held a press conference after the shooting death of 73-year-old Mary Knowlton.

SUN PHOTO BY ANNE EASKER

Lee Coel appeared in court for a case management conference Thursday.

SUN PHOTO BY MICHELE HASKELL

Punta Gorda Police Chief,Tom Lewis, announced during a morning press conference that he accepts blame for Tuesday’s death of 73-year-old resident Mary Knowlton, Knowlton was killed during a Citizens Police Academy training exercise. PG k-9 officer Lee Coel armed with the gun that killed Knowlton has been put on administrative leave. The chief refused to answer any questions and stated to the media there would be no further infornation until the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has completed it's investigation.

Punta Gorda Police Chief,Thomas Lewis reacts with his lawyer,Stephen Romine after the jury found him not guilty of culpable negligence in the dealth of civilian,Mary Knowlton

SUN PHOTO BY MICHELE HASKELL

Punta Gorda Police Chief,Tom Lewis, announced during a morning press conference that he accepts blame for Tuesday’s death of 73-year-old resident Mary Knowlton, Knowlton was killed during a Citizens Police Academy training exercise. PG k-9 officer Lee Coel armed with the gun that killed Knowlton has been put on administrative leave. The chief refused to answer any questions and stated to the media there would be no further infornation until the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has completed it's investigation.

SUN PHOTO BY ANNE EASKER

Former Punta Gorda Police Lt. Katie Heck testifies in the trial of Police Chief Tom Lewis Tuesday.

By ANNE EASKER

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It’s been one year since retired librarian Mary Knowlton, 73, came to the Punta Gorda Police Department to learn about the agency and was shot by a police officer.

During a role playing demonstration put on for the Chamber of Commerce, she held a simunitions gun, while former Officer Lee Coel fired live wadcutters from a real revolver, believing it was loaded with blanks. He struck Knowlton twice. She died on the way to the hospital.

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