National

Jan 14, 2014 11:19 AM by David Randall

Theater shooting shocker

WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. - The Pasco County Sheriff's Office reports that the suspect in a deadly shooting Monday at the Cobb Grove 16 Theater in Wesley Chapel is a retired Tampa Police captain.

Sheriff Chris Nocco said that Curtis Reeves, 71, was arrested and charged with second-degree homicide. He is being held without bond.

Investigators are calling the shooting an isolated incident.

They say two couples were at the theater watching previews for the movie the "Lone Survivor" when the shooting occurred. Reeves and his wife got into an argument with another couple who were sitting in front of them. The couple seated in front of him, Nichole and Chad Oulson were texting and Reeves asked him to stop several times.

An arrest affidavit released by the Pasco County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday morning said that witnesses told investigators that Reeves then went to tell theater management about the texting. When Reeves returned, additional words were exchanged and then Chad Oulson threw a bag of popcorn at Reeves.

Reeves then pulled out a 380 semi-automatic handgun from his pants pocket and shot Oulson in the chest, according to the arrest affidavit.

One shot was fired. Nichole Oulson placed her hand over her husband and her hand was injured during the shooting, according to investigators.

Moviegoer, Charles Cummings heard shouting, then saw the gunfire.

"Somebody throws popcorn. I'm not sure who threw the popcorn. And then bang, he was shot," he said. "He staggered 2 seats over, fell on my son and I. I asked my son to go call 911."

Alex Cummings said the victim tried to speak.

"I asked the guy if he was o.k. And he started gurgling blood and he fell on my leg," he said

The Oulsons were transported to Florida Hospital. Chad Oulson, 43, died from his injury and his wife Nichole suffered non-life threatening injuries, according to the PCSO.

The theater was evacuated. A good Samaritan inside the theater, who the PCSO identified as an off-duty Sumter County deputy Cpl. Alan Hamilton, detained Reeves until deputies arrived. Two off-duty nurses tried to help Chad Oulson. There were an estimated 25 people in the theater at the time of the shooting.

After the shooting, Reeves told investigators that during the argument, Oulson stood up and hit him in the face with an unknown object. Reeves said he then pulled out a 380 semi-automatic shotgun and fired one round at Oulson. Reeves also said he was in fear of being attacked, according to the affidavit.

The arrest affidavit said that witnesses told investigators they did not see any punches being thrown between the men.

After the shooting, moviegoers Charles and Alex Cummings spoke to the media about what they saw. Blood from the shooting was visible on Alex's lower leg and pants.

Tampa Police Spokeswoman Laura McElroy said that Reeves was a Captain when he retired from the Tampa Police Department on Sept. 30, 1993.

"He was instrumental in establishing the department's first Tactical Response Team," said McElroy in a news release. She said she did not think Reeves had any contact with the department since his retirement.

Reeves was also employed by Busch Gardens as director of security until 2005. Reeves was a board member of Hernando Crime Stoppers, and served as its president from 2006-2007.

His neighbor, Bill Costas, said he was shocked when he heard what happened. Costas said the man who fired the gun in the theater sounds like "a completely different guy".

"[Reeves was a] Very nice guy, always smiling. I've never seen him angry," Costas told News Channel 8. "Very helpful. If I needed help with something, he was there to help."

"I feel bad for his wife, his family, and for all of us who knew him," said Costas. "It's just a very sad thing."

Reeves' son is currently a Tampa Police Officer, according to a news release. He has been with the department since 2003.

 

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