Police: Man fatally shot in Florida movie theater over texting

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by Associated Press

KREM.com

Posted on January 14, 2014 at 10:39 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 14 at 3:41 PM

WESLEY CHAPEL, Florida -- An argument over texting in a Florida movie theater ended with a retired police captain fatally shooting a man sitting in front of him, authorities said.

Curtis Reeves, 71, has been charged with second-degree murder.

"Somebody throws popcorn. I'm not sure who threw the popcorn," said Charles Cummings, who was about to watch the movie "Lone Survivor" on Monday.

"And then bang, he was shot."

Pasco County Sheriff's officials said the shooting happened when Reeves asked 43-year-old Chad Oulson to stop texting at the theater.

Reeves and his wife were sitting behind Oulson and his wife. Oulson told Reeves 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 deputy detained Reeves until police arrived.

Cummings, who had blood on his clothes, told a group of reporters Monday afternoon the show was still in previews when the two couples started arguing.

Cummings said the men started raising their voices and popcorn was thrown. Authorities said Reeves took out a gun, Oulson's wife put her hand over her husband and 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."

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.

Chad Oulson died at a hospital, Tobin said. 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.

It's not immediately clear whether he has retained an attorney.

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