A gun was discharged in a Wesley Chapel, Florida Movie Theater shocking some patrons into the belief that the events of the mass murder that took place in Aurora Colorado in the summer of 2012 might be unfolding in their own neighborhood theater.
Kareen Lasky, who was in an adjacent theater when the gunfire rang out told the Tampa Bay Times that when the shooting occurred “The first thing I thought of was the theater out there in the West.”
Although this incident was not at all similar to the events that took place in Aurora, Colorado, a man was still shot and killed.
This specific event arose when a retired Tampa police captain shot a man in the chest after arguing with him about using his cell phone to send text messages inside a movie theater. The shooting took place at the Cobb Theater’s Grove 16 & Cine Bistro mid last month in Wesley Chapel, FL, a suburb about a thirty miles north of Tampa.
Chad Oulson was seated with his wife Nicole waiting for the matinee of the film “Lone Survivor” to begin when an altercation began with retired Police Captain Curtis Reeves, Jr. After words were exchanged, Reeves who also was also accompanied by his wife, got up to apparently complain to management about the texting, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office police report. The Oulsons’ were sitting in front of the seemingly agitated 6-foot-1, 270-pound, seventy-one year-old former police captain.
As the argument between the two couples escalated and was seemingly reaching its peak, Mr. Oulson reportedly threw popcorn at Reeves instigating a reaction where Reeves revealed his .380-semi-auto handgun and fired at Oulson hitting him in the chest. Mrs. Oulson was shot in the hand, apparently trying to block the bullet that was directed at her husband. According to a witness, after Reeves shot Oulson, he sat back down and placed the weapon in his lap.
When police arrived, Reeves was arrested and later charged with second-degree murder. An off-duty Sumter County deputy who was inside the theater as the shooting went on detained the retired officer until other deputies arrived at the scene.
When neighbors were interviewed, each of them had only good things to say about the man that moved to the area about 10 years ago. “He must have just snapped,” said Joe D’Andrea, and went on to describe him as a friendly, “stand-up” guy… I would not think he was the type of guy to do something like that. Another neighbor, Bill Costas told CNN affiliate WFLA that the man described in the report sounds like “a completely different guy” from the one he knows. He continued by saying he was a “very nice guy, always smiling… very helpful. If I needed help with something, he was there to help. I’ve never seen him angry.”
But Pasco County Sherriff Chris Nocco was easy to find fault with the former police captain saying “To have a retired police officer… I don’t know what he was thinking at the time. I can tell you, anybody, over a cellphone, to take their life, it’s ridiculous.”
During his career, for his leadership capabilities, Reeves frequently established exceptional assessments and repeated letters of commendation. He was praised for his role in the training he commanded for other agencies regarding gun safety as well as other matters which were noted in his personnel file. He was applauded for his oversight of the tactical response team for the 1987 visit to Tampa by “then” Vice President George H.W. Bush and was regularly given praise for his abilities of problem solving and managing stressful situations. In one job performance review a supervisor stated that “Captain Reeves not only has the ability to act decisively when necessary but has the foresight to initiate the proper course of action to avoid conflict.”
Still, the Pasco County Sheriff stated clearly that: “It didn’t matter what he had done previously in his life. You don’t shoot someone over a texting incident.”
Early in Reeves career he was reprimanded for handling a city weapon without proper care. At the time, one of his supervisors also noted in an assessment that “Reeves has a tendency to be impatient in regards to legal matters and practices now in force… and may be abrupt with complainants in some areas of the city.”
However, that assessment was written over thirty-five years ago.
After appearing in Court for his primary hearing, he was ordered held without bail pending a bond hearing by Judge Lynn Tepper for the second-degree murder charge.
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