New details: Blanks, bullets stored together ahead of accidental shooting

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The Punta Gorda Police Chief making major changes with his department, two weeks after 73-year-old Mary Knowlton was accidentally shot and killed during a lethal - force demonstration at a Citizens Academy class.

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. – New details about the accidental shooting of a 73-year-old librarian are forcing changes at the Punta Gorda Police Department.

Mary Knowlton,73, was shot by a police officer during a “shoot/don’t shoot” role-play scenario at the Punta Gorda Citizen Police Academy earlier this month.

Knowlton was a participant in a two-hour training course designed by the city when the accident occurred.

Officials said the gun used in the active shooter scenario role play mistakenly had a live round in it. Knowlton was transported to a local hospital after the shooting and was pronounced dead.

New documents obtained by NBC 2 show that boxes of live ammunition and blanks were mixed together where the gun was loaded.

“As you know, we are a small department. The size of our department is probably one of the most common sizes across the country. Typically, you have one armory, where you have all weapons, all ammo,” said Chief Tom Lewis, with the Punta Gorda Police Department.

As a result, officials say they are now storing real ammo and blanks in separate areas and not using live weapons during scenario-based training.

Authorities are still investigating to determine what else went wrong.

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