Jan 14, 2014 5:06 PM GMT
A retired cop, Curtis Reeves, 71 of Tampa shot and killed one man and wounded his wife with one shot for texting inside a Wesley Chapel, FL theatre. – Facebook picture of shooting victim Chad Oulson and daughter
A retired cop, Curtis Reeves, 71 of Tampa shot and killed one man and wounded his wife with one shot for texting inside a Wesley Chapel, FL theatre.
While attending a screening of Lone Survivor, Chad and Nicole Oulson sat in front of Reeves who was accompanied by his wife. Prior to the start of the film an argument began because the Oulsons were texting their 3 yr. old daughter and making noise. A witness stated that Reeves left to get a manager but returned alone. And that’s when the altercation escalated inside the theatre.
What witnesses saw inside the theatre.
Charles Cummings, a 68 yr. old Vietnam War veteran in attendance for his birthday, was two seats away from Reeves with his son Alex. They saw and heard the whole thing. Prior to the movie starting but during theatre previews the argument began. When Reeves returned without a manager the argument began again it grew louder. Popcorn was thrown and Reeves drew a .380 pistol and fired. Nicole Oulson put her hand up in an attempt to protect her husband but the round went through her hand and into Chad’s chest.
Alex Cummings said he heard Chad say, “I can’t believe I got shot.” before he collapsed inside the theatre. A nurse was in attendance and attempted to care for Mr. Oulson while paramedics were in route. Also in the theatre was an off-duty police officer who took Reeves into custody. It’s reported after shooting Oulson, Reeves sat down and placed the gun in his lap.
Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said outside the theatre.
“The back of your hair sticks up as you are running toward this location wondering what is really going on here.”
Fox news reports, Nocco said his detectives considered if this could be a ‘stand your ground’ case
but decided the criteria did not apply.
“These two people were brought together by fate today,” Nocco said. “They would have never known each other.”
“It’s absolutely crazy that it would rise to this level of altercation over someone just texting in a movie theatre,” Nocco said. “But I can tell you right now when this goes out everybody is paranoid, they are scared because a movie theatre should be somewhere safe where people are out there to enjoy themselves. But unfortunately what America has seen over the last couple of years is movie theatres have become dangerous places.”
No they haven’t! Theatres are not dangerous places. And its idiotic for Sheriff Nocco to say so. Fear has made America a dangerous place. Insecurities, personal or otherwise, have made things more dangerous. The ability to carry weapons and fire them at will with little to no consequence has made things more dangerous. But theatres aren’t the hotbed of violence. Neither are schools or malls or anywhere else that masses may gather. And I refuse to live in a society where I’m paralyzed by fear. Relegated into my home where its the only place I’m safe and warm.
Charles Cummings said,
“I can’t believe people would bring a gun to a movie.”
Neither can I Mr. Cummings. But after the Aurora shooting incident maybe better safe than sorry.
“I can’t believe they would argue and fight and shoot one another over popcorn or even a cell phone.” Cummings added.
And that’s the crazy part. This isn’t some thug teenager with no sense of life’s worth. This was a retired police captain. The guy who was responsible for assembling Tampa’s tactical response team. And there seems to be no sense that the altercation was anything more than an argument about theatre etiquette.
We may never know what made Reeves draw his weapon and kill inside a crowded movie theatre. But one thing is for sure. As long as people feel threatened and unsafe in public they will carry guns. And as long as people carry guns there will be senseless acts of violence like this one.
One trigger pull ruined 5 lives. A dead husband. A grieving widow and mother of a toddler who will grow up without a father. A decorated veteran doomed to spend the rest of his life in prison for 2nd degree murder. And the aging spouse he leaves behind. And that doesn’t account for the witnesses inside the theatre that may be scarred a long time if not forever because of one bullet from a gun that didn’t need to be there in the first place. Or the extended families.
Not me. I refuse to buy into this fear mentality where everyone on the street is a potential enemy. Where the guy behind you in a movie theatre could easily take your life or be the good Samaritan who saves it. So this weekend, I’m going to the movies. For Chad. And the next time you see someone inside a theatre texting during previews remember this story before you lose your temper and go off half cocked over something that isn’t worth fighting over.