A 73-year-old woman taking part in a role-playing police exercise was killed after being shot multiple times by an officer, police said Wednesday in Florida.

Mary Knowlton was taking part in a "shoot-don't shoot" demonstration at the Punta Gorda, Florida, police headquarters Tuesday evening as part of what is known as a Citizens' Academy.

The retired librarian was playing the role of a police officer, while an actual officer, portraying an assailant, shot her with a revolver holding real bullets.

"What I can tell you is that we were unaware that there was any live ammunition," Punta Gorda police chief Tom Lewis said at a press conference. "We believed there were only blank rounds available to the officer."

He said the officer, who was placed on administrative leave, was "very grief stricken."

The academy events are held to offer citizens insight into how police go about their jobs.

Florida authorities are investigating the incident.

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