In Punta Gorda, Florida, a police officer accidentally shot and killed a woman during a civilian training session. The gun used during the session mistakenly had a live round in it. According to a CNN report, the weapon was supposed to have had blank ammunition inside, and the purpose of the drill was a “shoot/don’t shoot” role-play scenario in which simulated lethal force was to be demonstrated. Unfortunately, the training exercise did not turn out as planned. Sadly, the tragic outcome of this event was entirely avoidable.
In 2005, 23-year old police recruit, Tara Drummond, was shot and killed by a firearms instructor during classroom training at the North Central Georgia Law Enforcement Academy. The instructor shot Tara in the chest, believing that his gun contained only dummy rounds.
Our law firm handled this case, representing Tara’s father.
According to policies, drills using functioning firearms were not to be conducted in the classroom environment. Drills in the classroom with a functioning firearm loaded with even dummy rounds were prohibited by policy. Live ammunition should never have been brought into the classroom in the first place.
The tragic death of this young police recruit was the result of a failure to adhere to existing policies. This death also could have been avoided had the instructor properly checked his weapon to ensure that it was not loaded with live ammunition. The failure to do so violated the basic fundamentals of firearm safety.
Tara was sworn in as a police officer only 4 months before her wrongful death.
Gun safety, particularly on the part of those who are charged with the responsibility of training our officers, is essential. It is sad to see that during a training session, a woman lost her life, being mistakenly shot during training with a live round. Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Mary Knowlton.