Suspect In Texting Shooting Says He Had Been Struck

1:24 PM, Jan 14, 2014   |    comments
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 Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY
Associated Press

A retired police captain charged with fatally shooting a man during an argument over phone texting inside a Florida theater claimed the victim had struck him with an unknown object, according to arrest documents.

Witnesses, however, did not report seeing any punches were thrown during the confrontation Monday at the theater in Wesley Chapel, Fla.

Curtis Reeves, who was charged with second-degree murder, was scheduled to appear in court Tuesday afternoon.

According to the complaint affidavit, the 71-year-old suspect, who was at the theater with his wife, had asked Chad Oulson, 43, to stop texting on his cellphone during the previews before the film Lone Survivor.

At one point, Reeves left briefly to complain to a theater employee, then came back alone but was "very irritated," according to a witness, Charles Cummings.

Oulson then got up and turned to Reeves to ask him if he had gone to tell on him. Oulson reportedly said that he had just been sending a message to his 3-year-old daughter.

The confrontation then escalated, with Oulson allegedly throwing popcorn at Reeves,.

"The defendant advised that the victim turned and stood up striking him in the face with an unknown object," the complaint says, according to WTSP-TV. "The defendant advised that he removed the .380 semiauto handgun from his pants pocket, firing one round striking the victim and that he was in fear of being attacked."

Oulson was shot once in the chest. Witnesses said Oulson initially staggered away and collapsed, while Reeves sat down and put the gun in his lap.

Oulson died later at a hospital. His wife, who tried to protect him, was treated for non-life-threatening gunshot wounds to her hand.

In the 1980s, Reeves was known on the Tampa Police Department as the "go-to" guy who would handle some of the toughes police calls, including hostage situations, suspect standoffs and civil disorder, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

The newspaper said Reeves launched the department's SWAT team. "In my opinion, he was the best of the best," retired Tampa police officer Carson Helms told the Times.

Tampa Police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said Reeves was a captain when he retired from the department in 1993. His son also is a Tampa officer, police said.

Contributing: Associated Press

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