Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Authorities stand outside Cobb theater after a shooting in Wesley Chapel, Fla., Monday, Jan. 13, 2014. Authorities say a retired Tampa police officer has been charged with fatally shooting a man during an argument over cellphone use at the theater. (AP Photo/The Tampa Tribune, Cliff Mcbride)
Details emerge on fatal shooting over texting at movie theater
First Published Jan 14 2014 08:34 am • Last Updated Jan 14 2014 02:44 pm

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 Tuesday afternoon.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

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.


story continues below
story continues below

"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.

———

Follow Tamara Lush on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tamaralush.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.