A Truly Senseless Tragedy.

Why, oh why, was blank ammunition used in a gun that was pointed at another person?

A woman has reportedly been shot and killed by a police officer during a Citizens Academy class at the Punta Gorda Police Department.
According to the Punta Gorda Police Chief, 73-year-old Mary Knowlton was shot several times by a police officer in a role-playing scenario where the officer was playing the “bad guy,” and the woman was playing a victim.
Two participants were selected from the class of 35.
The officer was supposed to be firing blank rounds, but live ammunition was used instead.

I am (very) marginally ok with blank ammo being used solely to simulate the sound of gunfire, but even that idea gets a C- grade from me. We have so many different options out there now, there is almost no reason to use blanks. Heck, even Hollywood realizes the danger of blanks and uses “non-guns” these days as much as they do real guns with blanks in them.

Not only are we living in a golden age of firearms training, we are in a golden age of firearms training accessories. Airsoft, SIRT, blue guns, LaserLytes… they are all available with zero qualification needed. Blank ammunition should be left on the silver screen and starters guns where it belongs,

Update: Thinking a bit more about this, that poor lady was shot several times before the cop realized “Oh, crap, I just shot someone!”, and this done was under non-life threatening conditions.  We only have X amount of attention to any given task at any given moment, and at that moment, all that cops attention was focused on getting his hits (which he unfortunately did). The red mist took over, and someone died. Also, one of my biggest takeaways from this is that advanced tactical training requires a teacher with advanced tactical training. We don’t know if it was a SWAT cop who fired those shots or just some beat cop making a few extra bucks by teaching a class, but either way, the methods used in this simulation were NOT those used by any respectable trainer I’ve ever heard of. If you’re taking an active shooter class (or any advanced class) from someone with just an NRA PPIH Instructor degree on his wall or from someone who breaks the Four Rules of Gun Safety, safely put your gun away, smile politely and leave as quickly as you can.

Update II: There was a newspaper photog there, on-scene as it happened, and her account is over here. Take a look at this photo she snapped of the officer as he was about to discharged his firearm.

Punta Gorda Shooting

He’s not using a police issue Glock 22, he’s using a snubbie revolver of some kind. That means that he or someone else had to have seen every single bullet that went into that revolver before he shot that lady. If you or I tried a stunt like that, we’d be looking at manslaughter or negligent homicide charges.