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Man fatally shot at Florida theater over texting

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 10:09 a.m. HST, Jan 14, 2014

WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. » A 71-year-old retired police officer accused of shooting a man dead in a Florida movie theater told authorities that "he was in fear of being attacked" during Monday's confrontation.

Curtis Reeves is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 43-year-old Chad Oulson. A judge ordered Reeves held without bond during a court hearing this afternoon.

Pasco County Sheriff's officials say Reeves initially asked Oulson to stop texting at the theater in Wesley Chapel, a suburb about a half-hour north of downtown Tampa.

Sheriff's Detective Allen Proctor wrote that Reeves spoke to Oulson during the movie previews, then got up from his seat and informed management.

When Reeves returned to his seat "additional words were exchanged" and Oulson threw a bag of popcorn at Reeves, the report said.

After officers read him his rights, Reeves told the detective that Oulson struck him in the face with an unknown object, and that's when he removed a .380 caliber gun from his pants pocket. The report said Reeves fired the gun and struck Oulson once in the chest and that he "was in fear of being attacked."

Oulson's wife, who was also in the theater, had put her hand on her husband's chest prior to the shooting in an attempt to shield him. Officials say she was also struck by the bullet.

There were about 25 people in the theater at the time of the shooting, witnesses and authorities said. The movie playing was "Lone Survivor," about Navy SEALS in Afghanistan.

"I can't believe people would bring a pistol, a gun, to a movie," said Charles Cummings, who was sitting near Oulson and Reeves. "I can't believe they would argue and fight and shoot one another over popcorn. Over a cellphone."

Cummings, who said he was a combat Marine in Vietnam, said Oulson fell onto him and his son. When they spoke to reporters on Monday, both had blood on their clothes.

"Blood started coming out of his mouth," said Alex Cummings. "It was just a very bad scene."

Charles Cummings said his son went to call 911, while Cummings and another patron who was a nurse began performing CPR on the victim.

The man sitting next to the suspect happened to be an off-duty deputy from another county, and he grabbed the gun out of Reeves' hand, and the suspect did not attempt to get away, Cummings said.

Oulson and his wife were taken by ambulance to a Tampa-area hospital, where Chad Oulson died, said Sheriff's Office spokesman Doug Tobin. His wife's injuries were not considered life-threatening.

Tampa Police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said in a news release that Reeves was a captain when he retired from the department in 1993. She added that he was instrumental in establishing the agency's first tactical response team. After he retired, Reeves worked security for the Busch Gardens theme park and was on the board of a neighboring county's Crime Stoppers organization. Reeves' son also is a Tampa officer, police said.

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lokela wrote:
Theater rage. It was bound to happen sooner or later. Now days there are a lot of inconsiderate people. But no reason to bring a weapon into a theater. Sad.
on January 14,2014 | 05:06AM
Publicbraddah wrote:
While Reeves response was over the top, people in general have lost social graces and respect for one another. Talking, cell phone use, and crying babies are tops on the list. Today, people have an over abundance of attitude and little in the way of respect for others.
on January 14,2014 | 05:18AM
inHilo wrote:
Yes, but doesn't that loss of social graces include shooting someone because of texting?
on January 14,2014 | 05:49AM
aomohoa wrote:
No kidding! Sounds like the ex cop had an anger management problem. Yes I get annoyed and feel like shooting someone that does inconsiderate stuff but you only think it. Why is he carrying a gun around anyway? Maybe misses shooting at people as a cop!
on January 14,2014 | 08:30AM
livinginhawaii wrote:
Each time I am disrupted by a rude individual in a theater I simply get up and go to the manager insisting upon a refund. Management has complied and even thrown in comps. As a result, I have been able to see dozens of free films. Everyone needs to do this whenever the theater is disrupted. It is managements responsibility to baby sit and not that of a vigilante in this type of venue.
on January 14,2014 | 06:35AM
Gotta remember that.
on January 14,2014 | 08:18AM
aomohoa wrote:
Free movies sounds good.
on January 14,2014 | 08:31AM
loquaciousone wrote:
Wait until they allow cell phone use on airplanes......
on January 14,2014 | 07:03AM
Ewasohappy wrote:
Someone is going to get thrown out of a plane!
on January 14,2014 | 08:19AM
control wrote:
I still can't believe that people are stupid enough to think it's okay to play with their cellphone during a movie. This kind of event is what you can expect from the right-to-carry crowd.
on January 14,2014 | 07:16AM
aomohoa wrote:
There are lots of rude people out there but I'm not sure it's OK to shoot them. LOL I also get tired of hearing people talk really loud on their cell phone,too. I don't care about their personal conversation.
on January 14,2014 | 08:35AM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
Maybe retired cop was an ex seal. I thought McDonalds was sacred. Oh well, law enforcement personnel mentality, "I am God".!!
on January 14,2014 | 07:55AM
Big C wrote:
Hmmm? Another case for the courts to test the Florida Stand Your Ground (Theater Seat) Law.
on January 14,2014 | 09:18AM
eoe wrote:
Yes, he threw a lethal weapon at him - a bag of popcorn.
on January 14,2014 | 09:52AM
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