Retired Cop Allegedly Shot and Killed a Fellow Moviegoer For Texting During the Previews

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 14 2014 11:31 AM

Retired Cop Allegedly Shot and Killed a Fellow Moviegoer For Texting During the Previews

An argument between two moviegoers turned deadly on Monday when a 71-year-old retired cop allegedly shot and killed another man in a Florida theater where the victim had been texting during the previews. According to police, the confrontation began when Curtis Reeves, a retired police captain, asked 43-year-old Chad Oulson to put his phone away. "It ended almost as quickly as it started," said Pasco County Sheriff's spokesman Doug Tobin.

The best account of the sad incident I've seen so far comes from Charles Cummings, an eyewitness who was in the movie theater with his son when the shooting happened. "Somebody throws popcorn.... And then bang, he was shot," Cummings, who reportedly left the theater splattered with blood, recounted to media that had gathered in the Tampa suburb.

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According to Cummings' version of events, there was a brief pause during the argument during which Reeves left the auditorium. At the time, Cummings assumed Reeves had done so to get a manager, but when he returned without one in tow the fight resumed and quickly escalated. Reeves then allegedly took out a gun, killing Oulson and shooting his wife in the hand in the process.

According to police, Reeves, who was also attending the screening of Lone Survivor with his wife, was detained at the scene by an off-duty police officer and has since been charged with second-degree murder.

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Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. Follow him on Twitter.