Police: Texting in movie theater sparks fatal shooting

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PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — A man was shot dead and his wife wounded after an argument over texting in a movie theater Monday afternoon in Wesley Chapel, Florida, Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said.

The suspect, Curtis Reeves, is a retired Tampa police officer, Nocco said. He will be charged with second-degree homicide, according to Nocco.

Nocco identified the victims as Chad and Nicole Oulson, who he said were sitting in a row in front of another couple. An earlier release from the sheriff’s department said the shooting occurred before a showing of the movie “Lone Survivor.”

“There was an altercation because the victim was using his cell phone. He was texting,” Nocco said. “This led to a verbal altercation, the verbal altercation escalated.”

Reeves pulled out a .380-caliber handgun and as Nicole Oulson raised her hand, the shooter fired once, Nocco said.

A witness said the shooting happened during previews to the movie. Charles Cummings told reporters that Chad Oulson sat two seats from him and his son. Reeves was upset by Oulson’s cell phone use and the two argued, Reeves then got up and left the theater for a brief time, Cummings said.

“He came back very irritated,” Cummings said. Nocco told reporters that the shooter had gone to report the encounter to an employee.

The two men started arguing again and the cell phone user told the other man he was just texting his daughter, Cummings said. A few silent seconds elapsed and the argument started again.

Nocco said Oulson confronted the shooter about going to the theater employee.

Cummings said the argument got louder.

“Their voices started going up. There seemed to almost be a confrontation,” Cummings said. “Somebody throws popcorn; I’m not sure who threw it. And then bang, he was shot.”

The victim staggered over and fell on Cummings and his son. A nurse who was in the theater performed CPR on the victim until the paramedics arrived, said Cummings, who like his son, had spatters of blood on his clothes.

The shooter sat down and put the gun on his lap, and an off-duty deputy from Sumter County who was there to watch the film made sure the shooter didn’t leave.

Nocco said Reeves was at the theater with his wife, and there was no indication that the two couples involved knew each other.

The shooting happened at about 1:30 p.m. inside one of the theaters at the Grove 16 complex, sheriff’s spokeswoman Melanie Snow said.

“This was an isolated altercation between two guests that escalated unexpectedly. The safety, security and comfort of our guests and team members are always our top priorities, and we are truly heartbroken by this incident,” Cobb Theatres, which operates the Grove complex, said in a written statement.


  • Justin Ludwig

    What happens when you take away the hall monitors badge? He gets a wittle mad and want to take on de whole wide world. Oh what a tough guy! Oh what a hero! You shoot those darned texters you hero you! Now there is the real Lone Survivor!

  • cluja

    I went and saw Anchorman 2 and the guy next to me checked his Facebook 13 times. It was annoying yes but no reason ever to shoot someone. Especially since it was during previews.

  • mowmow88

    this upsets me only because me and my wife just went to see this movie and if someone took me away form my newborn son over something so insignificant that night i would haunt the shit out of them forever!

  • WeBuiltThisCountry

    Some co-workers and I where having a discussion about how firearms change some people mind set on how to deal with confrontation. Back in the days disagreements where settled with a loud argument maybe a fight MAYBE! Some people are weak they hide behind the fact they have a firearm,I explain this to my oldest son all the time.

      • dewey

        Yep…those days….the last 2 generations are wussies….kids committing suicide prove that…the children of today are AFRAID to take a whoopin…most of their parents too….but the real problem is our society today willingly accepting mediocrity in every aspect of our lives…old dude with the gun wouldn’t have been so bad, if he had left his gun at home

  • WeBuiltThisCountry

    I wonder what’s he gonna do when he has a disagreement in prison? There are no guns in FDOC and he put a couple of those guys in there!

  • God is good

    This is horrible. I read the book by Marcus Luttrell and have been waiting to see this movie for over a year now. I do not go to the movies often, and after the 1st movie theatre shooting, its always in the back of my mind. I went and saw Lone Survivor this past weekend, but I will have to say I was nervous. People are crazy these days, and its sad you cannot even enjoy a movie without having to worry who is around you and what may happen.

  • Keith Wilson

    Noone should ever get shot over texting….that’s absurd! However, the offender did go to an employee to report his behavior, and the victim did confront the guy about reporting the behavior AND the guys wife raised her hand in a suspicious way while they were arguing.

    Not saying it was right, nor am I defending the shooter………but I think everyone has been around people that were just so self-centered and showed a lack of courtesy to those around them that it just irritates the hell out of you. Unfortunately, this behavior caused a man to break……

    I went to see The Conjuring…..and a group of about five teenage girls sat behind me and laughed and talked through the entire movie…and yes it pissed me off.

    I would be interested in knowing if the wife or man made any threat towards the shooter before the shot was fired.

    • WeBuiltThisCountry

      If he was that afraid of human interactions he should have stayed home and waited for the movie comes out on red box.Also Curtis confronted the victim first!

  • Steve

    Why did he have a weapon inside the theater? He is a RETIRED cop.
    He isn’t any more special than me.
    I have a CCP but cannot take my pistol into any event that charges admission.

  • Isiah Smith

    If this country is going to keep pushing the right to bear arms on me, then this country needs to put metal detectors everywhere. EVERYWHERE. In fact, as long as people are allowed to freely purchase and use firearms, then every public place should have metal detectors to access it. That’s the only compromise that makes any sense. If it’s true that “people kill people not guns” then we obviously need a universal way to stop these “people.” Any other ideas obviously will always come up short.

    When’s the last time a criminal shot up a courtroom?

    • Mr. Papageorgio

      I agree with Isiah, metal detectors should be put everywhere and all people who set them off due to having a cell phone in every establishment imaginable should have them confiscated! How many times do you hear of confrontations because of irresponsible and disrespectful people who don’t know when enough is enough. We DON’T want you hear your conversations in line at the grocery store, we DON’T want you see you texting in a movie theater, we DON’T want you see you on the sidewalk running into people because you are so enthralled with your important cell phone, and god forbid they ever allow them on planes. This guy should be given the key to the city, not locked up. He probably confronted the guy, and like so many people who think that their cell phone is more important than anything, probably smarted off to him and he got shot as a result. You can say what you want about this comment but in the end the TEXTER is DEAD, the shooter is ALIVE.

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