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 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.
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,” sheriff’s spokesman Doug Tobin said. The sheriff’s office said an off-duty Sumter County deputy detained Reeves until police arrived.
Authorities said that when Reeves took out the gun, Oulson’s wife put her hand over her husband. That’s when Reeves fired his weapon, striking Nichole Oulson in the hand and her husband in the chest.
Tobin said Nichole Oulson’s injuries weren’t life-threatening.