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Police captain kills man for texting at movies

Published time: January 14, 2014 19:07
Police tape surrounds the Cobb Grove 16 movie theater in Wesley Chapel, Florida, January 13, 2014 (Reuters / Mike Carlson)

Police tape surrounds the Cobb Grove 16 movie theater in Wesley Chapel, Florida, January 13, 2014 (Reuters / Mike Carlson)

Retired police captain Curtis Reeves killed a moviegoer after using his gun during an argument over texting during the film, officials said.

“Somebody throws popcorn. I’m not sure who threw the popcorn,” said Charles Cummings, a witness to the shooting which occurred Monday afternoon during a screening of “Lone Survivor” at The Grove 16 Theater in Wesley Chapel, north of Tampa.

“And then bang, he was shot,” Cummings told the AP.

Seventy-one year old Reeves was charged with second-degree murder.

Reeves had apparently asked 43-year-old Chad Oulson to stop texting. Oulson refused, prompting Reeves to seek out theater staff. However, Reeves returned without them after a few minutes, seeming to be upset. The argument resumed, with Oulson becoming agitated that management was sought out to handle the situation, after which popcorn was thrown and Reeves opened fire.

Oulson received a bullet wound to the chest and later died in hospital. His wife, Nichole Oulson, sustained a hand injury from the same shot after she placed her hand on her husband during the confrontation.

“Blood started coming out of his mouth,” said Cumming’s son, Alex. “It was just a very bad scene.”

Oulson had explained to Reeves that he was exchanging texts with his 3-year-old daughter during the confrontation.

“It ended almost as quickly as it started,” sheriff’s spokesman Doug Tobin told the agency. The sheriff’s office added that an off-duty deputy detained Reeves for the shooting until police arrived.

In an arrest report later obtained by FoxTampaBay, it emerged that Reeves, who had been using a .380 semi-automatic handgun claimed that "he was in fear of being attacked" and that "the victim turned and stood up, striking him in the face with an unknown object."

Witnesses "did not observe any punches being thrown."

It did not immediately emerge publicly that a former police officer was responsible for the assault, and no information had immediately been released as to the condition of the two unidentified victims who were immediately hospitalized.

Tampa Police spokeswoman Laura McElroy stated in a release that Reeves had been instrumental in establishing the agency's first tactical response (SWAT) team.

Comments (105)


cMc_Dominator 06.08.2014 10:21

RichardD 16.01.2014 17:51

No gun is available in Russia and a lot of other places either, but their murder rate is 400% higher than the US, so your theory doesn't work in the real world. If you like not having freedom and rights you can stay in England. I'm sure that many in England don't share your perspective though, and would like a gun to deal with criminals who victimize people 400% more than in the US.


I'm British and very happy that guns are not as common as they are in the USA, your argument is invalid. USA sucks balls, everyone hates it and no-one wants to hear your BS either.


cMc_Dominator 06.08.2014 10:14

Patrick Tee 17.01.2014 04:37

Maybe he should of just stepped outside and text. Be respectful towards others who paid to watch the movie...


Does that mean he deserved to die and leave a 3 year old daughter without a father, you disgust me.


Mike Martin 19.02.2014 23:14

Just another case of someone who was programmed to shoot first- ask questions later .Should the victim have showed some courtesy and stepped outside to text his daughter ? Yes.
I get pissed all the time with rude phone behaviour especially when on the road but never think to blow someone away and ruin lives just over stupid phone behaviour.They do ask you to turn you cell phones off before the film starts and they could have saved more hassle and a life by enforcing theyre own policy.A total fail all around and very sad for the family.That little 3yr old will never respect the police.

View all comments (105)
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