Mary Knowlton police exerciseA woman was killed during a police traning don’t shoot exercise in Florida.

Mary Knowlton, a librarian, was killed during a lethal force simulation A police officer accidentally shot a 73-year-old woman dead during a “roleplay” firearms training exercise.

Knowlton was one of two members of the public taking part in a community event in Florida last night who were randomly selected for a “shoot/don’t shoot” scenario.

The exercise was aimed at helping people make decisions on using lethal force.

Witnesses said Knowlton was playing the victim in the exercise when she was shot with live ammunition by a police officer, who was playing a “bad guy”.

Knowlton, a librarian, later died in Lee Memorial Hospital, Fort Myers.

Punta Gorda Police have not released the identity of the officer or the circumstances of how the woman was shot.

Describing the shooting as a horrible accident, Police chief Tom Lewis said: “I am devastated for everyone involved in this unimaginable event.

“If you pray, please pray for Mary’s family, and for the officers involved. Everyone involved in this accident is in a state of overwhelming shock and grief.”

Knowlton was one of 35 members of the public participating in the two hour event held by Punta Gorda Police.

Police confirmed the investigation into the shooting had been taken over by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

The officer involved has been placed on administrative leave pending the result of the investigation