(CNN.com)The police chief of a Florida Gulf Coast city plus among his policemen are charged in connection with all the unintentional fatal shooting of a girl a year ago in a citizen’s police academy.
In August, the deadly shot was fired by Punta Gorda police Officer Lee Coel in a practice involving civilians in the police academy facility. Mary Knowlton, a 73-year old retired Minnesota mom of 2, died in a hospital.
Coel was charged Wednesday with one count of felony manslaughter.
“I don’t see how the facts as we know it would amount to criminal negligence as opposed to simple negligence,” lawyer Jerry Berry advised CNN affiliate WINK. Berry was reached out to by cNN.com but did not get an instantaneous reply.
Chief Tom Lewis will face one count of misdemeanor culpable negligence.
“Looking at the totality of the facts and evidence brought our office to this decision,” State Attorney Stephen Russell stated.
Policeman was enjoying bad-guy in practice
Coel shot Knowlton throughout a “shoot/don’t shoot” roleplay situation in which policemen make determinations on using simulated deadly force, Lewis stated at the time.
The librarian and an officer were enjoying in the situation, that was held outside the police complicated, authorities said. Coel was enjoying the function of a “bad guy” when he opened fire as almost three dozen folks looked on.
Erroneously although the firearm the policeman used should experienced blanks had a round inside, Lewis stated.
“Lee Coel absolutely, positively did not know there was live ammunition in that gun,” Berry said Wednesday.
Coel, who joined the force in March 2014, has been on administrative leave because the shooting.
Coel faces up to 30 years in jail if convicted. He compensated bond and turned himself in Wednesday.
Because he’s charged using a violation, Lewis doesn’t need to appear in court until April 5.
The utmost punishment for another degree misdemeanor is up up to $500 good and 60-days in prison.
It was unclear Wednesday evening whether Lewis had a lawyer. City authorities have planned an information meeting for Thursday morning.