Murder in the Movies

Murder in the Movies


Don’t you hate it when you’re trying to watch a movie and the jerk in front of you pulls out his massive phone with the super-bright screen and starts texting or Facebooking or Tweeting?  It’s extremely annoying – almost as annoying as when someone ignores the various pleas onscreen, requesting patrons to silence or turn off their phones, and a ridiculous ringtone blares out during a gripping climactic scene, totally ruining the movie for everyone.

It’s enough to make you want to murder someone.

Although I say that in jest, Curtis Reeves from Wesley Chapel FL apparently felt strongly enough to take that literally.  He was at the Grove 16 theater, owned by the Cobb Theatres chain, trying to enjoy a screening of Lone Survivor, when his concentration was interrupted by another patron.

Chad Oulson, 43, was trying to text his 3-year old daughter during previews before the movie started.  Reeves, who apparently really enjoys movie previews, became aggitated and went to the lobby to find a manager, according to a witness in the theater.  When he came back alone, a confrontation erupted between Reeves and Oulson.

“Their voices start going up, there seems to be a confrontation, somebody throws popcorn, then bang, he was shot,” said Charles Cummings, who was there to celebrate his birthday. “I heard the victim say, ‘I can’t believe…,’ then he fell on us.”

Both the Oulson and his wife Nicole were shot. Chad Oulson was shot in the chest and later died from his injury. Nicole was injured in the hand by the same bullet while trying to shield her husband from the bullet.

An off-duty Sumter County deputy who was at the theater quickly jumped into action and detained Reeves until police arrived. Reeves, who is a 71-year-old retired Tampa police officer, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.

Detectives considered whether this case might fall under Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law, but quickly dismissed the thought. After all, there is no precedent for popcorn being used as a deadly weapon.

During the bail hearing, a prior movie theater incident involving Reeves came to light. Based on a statement read by the prosecution, Jamira Dixon was texting during a movie when she was confronted by Reeves, who spent the entire movie glaring at her and making her feel uncomfortable. When she got up to use the rest room, Dixon followed her. Once this story broke, Dixon decided to call police and tell them about her run in with Reeves, the self-appointed movie-theater-anti-texting enforcer …and also alleged murderer.

UPDATE – 3/13/2014 | Curtis Reeves, the man who allegedly shot and killed 43-year-old Chad Oulson during a screening of “Lone Survivor” at a movie theater in Pasco County, was also texting during the same movie, according to his phone records.

Curtis Reeves

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