TAMPA-A dispute over texting inside a crowded movie theater in Tampa, Florida ended in a shooting, leaving one man dead, his wife injured, and an ex-cop charged with murder. The incident occurred while the parties in question were viewing “Lone Survivor” at the Grove 16 Theaters in Wesley Chapel, north of Tampa.
According to eyewitnesses, the argument began when Curtis Reeves Jr., 71, an ex-Tampa police officer who is apparently insane, objected to 43-year-old Chad Oulson’s texting. The argument escalated when Oulson refused to do as commanded by Reeves and his wife. Reeves then left the theater briefly and returned. The debate resumed, voices were raised, and popcorn was thrown. The accused then whipped out a pistol and fired.
Oulson’s wife was hit in the hand as she tried to protect her husband. Oulson was hit in the chest and later died. A witness stated that Oulson said, “I can’t believe…” before collapsing. Neither can anyone else, Mr. Oulson.
Pasco County Sheriff Department spokesman Doug Tobin stated that “It ended almost as soon as it started.” He said that a “Good Samaritan” was able to disarm and hold the suspect until police arrived. Reeves has been charged with second-degree murder.
Tampa Police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said in a press release that Reeves retired in 1993 as a captain and was instrumental in forming the agency’s first tactical response team. After retirement Reeves worked security for Busch Gardens theme park and was on the board of a local Crime Stoppers organization. When asked if the Tampa Police Department was in the habit of hiring bloodthirsty homicidal maniacs and putting them in positions of power, McElroy replied, “Well of course, this is Florida you know.”
In a hastily called news conference Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association used the incident as an example of how a tragedy could have been averted if only “oppressive” gun-control laws were further relaxed. “This incident goes to show just how dangerous texting is, and every law-abiding citizen should be armed and ready to meet the threat” said LaPierre. “If everyone in that theater had been armed, including the small children, then this tragedy could have been avoided. You simply cannot bring popcorn to a gunfight and expect to win.” When asked by a reporter to clarify his statement because it made no sense, LaPierre replied, “I represent the NRA. I don’t have to make any sense!”
The tragedy that occurred in this movie theater may seem unbelievable to sane Americans, but when you live in a state that allows its citizens to legally gun-down unarmed civilians on a whim, incidents such as this become the new normal. The craziest part of the whole story is that detectives who interviewed the unhinged Mr. Reeves actually considered if he was justified under the “Stand Your Ground” law. Thank God they got it right this time and charged Reeves with murder.
Chad Oulson leaves behind a wife and a three-year-old daughter. He was a finance manager at Sky Power Sports in Port Richey and loved motocross, sports of all types, and traveling. He was 43 years old.