Tampa ex-cop charged in fatal movie theater shooting denied bond

January 14, 2014 

The 71-year-old former police officer accused of fatally shooting a man at the Cobb Grove 16 movie theater in Wesley Chapel was denied bond Tuesday.

Curtis Reeves had his firs appearance hearing via video conference from the Land O Lakes Detention Center. He stood at a podium wearing an anti-suicide smock, while several of his family members sat in the Dade City courtroom.

Reeves' attorneys, Richard Escobar and Dino Michaels, argued that Reeves has deep ties to the community, attends church regularly and is not a flight risk.

But Circuit Judge Lynn Tepper said the evidence of guilt is "significant" and there is sufficient cause for the second-degree murder charge Reeves faces.

As unfathomable as it sounds, the shooting apparently started with dispute over some cell phone noise the victim was making while texting.

He told authorities he did so because he feared being attacked. According to the arrest report, that is why Curtis Reeves shot Chad Oulson during an argument in front of about 25 Grove 16 movie theater patrons.

According to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, Chad and Nicole Oulson got into an argument with Reeves and his wife, who were sitting behind them during previews for the 1:20 p.m. showing of the war movie Lone Survivor.

Officials said Reeves became upset because Chad Oulson was text messaging on a cell phone. Reeves initially asked Oulson to stop texting, according to the report.

Sheriff's Detective Allen Proctor wrote that Reeves spoke to Oulson, 43, during the movie previews, then got up from his seat and informed management. When Reeves returned to his seat "additional words were exchanged" and Oulson threw a bag of popcorn at Reeves, the report said.

After officers read him his rights, Reeves told the detective that Oulson struck him in the face with an unknown object, and that's when he removed a .380 caliber gun from his pants pocket.

The report said Reeves fired the gun and struck Oulson once in the chest and that he "was in fear of being attacked."

Oulson's wife had put her hand on her husband's chest prior to the shooting in an attempt to shield him. Officials say she was also struck by the bullet.

Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco said two off-duty nurses, who were also in the theater, began performing CPR and tried to save Oulson. Both victims were transported to local hospitals, but Chad Oulson died. His wife was treated for a gunshot wound to her hand, authorities said.

An off-duty Sumter County deputy was inside the theater at the time, Nocco said. Authorities said the deputy secured the gun and held Reeves until deputies arrived and took him into custody.

No other injuries were reported.

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