Punta Gorda Citizen Police Academy Shooting Morning Press Conference

Posted at 11:10 AM, Aug 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-10 11:14:15-04

The following is a statement from the City Manager, City Council of Punta Gorda.

To Our Punta Gorda Community:

Tuesday evening our City’s administration was notified of a tragic event that occurred at the Punta Gorda Public Safety Building located at 1410 Tamiami Trail, which resulted in the loss of life of one of our beloved residents. We want to express our deepest sympathy for the family and friends of Mary Knowlton. We are shocked by this horrific accident and are grieving deeply over Mary’s passing. We also would like to acknowledge the impact this has had on the other participants who were present during this tragedy. We have taken special measures to support those individuals. Yesterday evening, one of our first priorities was to involve our Police Department’s Chaplain to provide assistance and comfort.

This tragedy also significantly impacted our public safety family, to include the officers on scene, police dispatchers, and firefighters. Chief Tom Lewis immediately contacted the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to respond and begin an investigation into the events surrounding this incident. As your Mayor, City Council and City Manager we have complete faith in our Chief of Police to ensure that this outside investigation is conducted thoroughly. Future press conferences will be scheduled and news releases will be provided as information is made available.

As your City leaders, we would like to express our gratitude for your continued support during this extremely difficult time. We are mourning and missing Mary, as she was a vital member of our community.

This incident has had a tremendous impact on our community. The City has made arrangements with Tidewell Hospice to provide grief counseling to anyone who requests it. The contact for Tidewell Hospice is Michelle Gordin, 941-979-4300. This is free of charge.