In a training session that went horribly wrong, police in Florida have shot and killed a civilian.
US police in the Florida city of Punta Gorda say they are devastated after the training session with civilians turned fatal on August 9.
In a "shoot/don't shoot" role play scenario Mary Knowlton, 73, was randomly selected to play a "good guy" at the Citizens Academy at the Punta Gorda Police Department.
The training was about making decisions on using lethal force.
A police officer was playing the "bad guy" and fired at Knowlton. However instead of blank rounds, live ammunition was accidentally used.
The woman was shot several times and was pronounced dead later in hospital.
In a statement by the Punta Gorda police, shared on social media, police Chief Tom Lewis said those involved were shocked.
"I am devastated for everyone involved in this unimaginable incident. If you pray, please pray for Mary's family, and for the officers who were involved. Everyone involved in this accident is in a state of overwhelming shock and grief," he said.
According to the Washington Post, Knowlton was a student at the academy, a free, eight-week class intended to give an “up-close and personal look” at what makes government in the Florida town work.
The group of 35 on the course were to tour the station and talk with officers.
News-Press reports that the Citizens Academy is a course offered to locals to get to know policing and local civics.
The statement went on to say the officer involved has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of this investigation.
This comes after months of high-tension in the USA over fatal shootings by police, an police also being fatally shot.