WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. — An argument over texting in a Florida movie theater Monday triggered a retired Tampa police captain to fatally shoot a man sitting in front of him, as about 25 horrified moviegoers looked on, sheriff’s officials said.
“Somebody throws popcorn. I’m not sure who threw the popcorn,” said Charles Cummings, who, as a birthday treat, was about to watch the movie “Lone Survivor” at The Grove 16 Theater.
“And then bang, he was shot.”
Curtis Reeves, 71, has been charged with second-degree murder and it’s not immediately clear whether he has retained an attorney.
Pasco County Sheriff’s officials said the shooting happened when Reeves asked 43-year-old Chad Oulson to stop texting at the theater in Wesley Chapel, a suburb about a half hour north of downtown Tampa.
Reeves and his wife were sitting behind Oulson and his wife. Oulson told Reeves that he was texting with his 3-year-old daughter, Cummings said.
“It ended almost as quickly as it started,” said sheriff’s spokesman Doug Tobin. The sheriff’s office says an off-duty Sumter County deputy detained Reeves until police arrived.
Cummings and his son Alex — who both had blood on their clothes as they walked out of the theater — told a group of reporters Monday afternoon that the show was still in previews when the two couples started arguing.
Cummings said the man in the back row — later identified as Reeves — got up and left the auditorium, presumably to get a manager. But he came back after a few minutes, without a manager and appearing upset. Moments later, the argument between the two men resumed, and the man in the front row stood up.
Officials said Oulson asked Reeves if he reported him to management for using his phone.
Cummings said the men started raising their voices and popcorn was thrown. Authorities said Reeves took out a gun, and Oulson’s wife put her hand over her husband, and that’s when Reeves fired his weapon, striking Nichole Oulson in the hand and her husband in the chest.
“I can’t believe people would bring a pistol, a gun, to a movie,” Cummings said. “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.
“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 claimed to a nurse began performing CPR on the victim.
A man sitting next to the shooter grabbed the gun out of his 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 the Chad Oulson died, Tobin said. His wife’s injuries weren’t 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.
9 thoughts on “Ex-cop accused in fatal theater shooting over texting”
Even the retired pigs are out of control. He probably heard about the two pigs getting off scott free for killing Thomas, and thought “what the hell, I’ll just kill me one myself. The jury will let me walk.”
I agree, that sounds like what I would say/think. Ya spoke for me on that one FarmerDave 😎
I tell people all the time that Florida ,and especially this area, has turned into a police state and getting worse all the time.So this guy help train the Swat team ,how appropriate.Wonder what the spin will be on this to put lipstick on a pig this time. They shoot people and dogs here all the time and at the first hint of anything swarm in like the gang of thugs they are looking for something to shoot!
It would seem that the chem-trails are begining to work.
I guess retirement is no reason to stop shooting steroids into your arm.
What’s important here is that texting doesn’t even make any noise, so there was nothing preventing the psychotic ex-cop from enjoying the movie, but because he’s a cop, he feels he has the right, and a need, to control everyone he comes in contact with.
Cops become cops in the first place because they usually suffer from feelings of inadequacy, or a “Napoleonic Complex”, that’s catered to by them exercising their sadistic controlling tendencies upon those around them. That’s why they beat their wives after spending eight hours beating up on the public, and that’s why they’re much more dangerous that any Vet with PTSD, who is having a normal reaction to being throw into a very abnormal situation.
You should avoid these sick bastards (cops – not Vets) whenever possible.
I get pissed at people texting in a movie theater all the time, but I don’t shoot people over it. Psycho!
Wouldn’t be surprised if it was yet another gun grabbing hoax.
It’s a bad state of affairs when people are not able to sort out their problems civilly. The alleged shooter could have just changed seats.
Parts of Australia are going this way too, increasing bad behaviour due to a slowly cumbling society and an increasing police state. Everyone is becoming suspicious and ascribing sinister motives to eachother.
The superiority complex is permanent, apparently.