Texting Allegedly Triggers Movie Theater Shooting by Retired Police Captain

Off-duty officer subdues retired cop after fatal theater shooting.

ByABC News
January 13, 2014, 3:40 PM

Jan. 13, 2014— -- An argument between a retired police captain and a couple who was texting inside of a Florida movie theater erupted into gunfire today that left one man dead and a woman wounded.

Police said that two couples began arguing before a showing of "Lone Survivor" over one couple's text messaging.

The shooting suspect, identified as retired Tampa police officer Curtis Reeves, 71, became annoyed when a couple sitting in front of him were texting during the movie's previews, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's office.

Police said that Reeves asked Chad and Nichole Oulson several times to stop, and then Reeves left the theater. When Reeves returned, Chad Oulson asked Reeves if he reported his phone use to the theater managers, police said. That prompted an argument which ended when Reeves pulled out a gun and shot Oulson in the chest, police said.

"The victim was on his cellphone, he was texting. We believe he was making some kind of noise. This noise led to an altercation," Sheriff Chris Nocco said, according to ABC News affiliate WFTS. "During that altercation, the suspect decided to pull out a .380 and he shoots the victim."

Chad Oulson died of his wound and his wife was wounded.

An off-duty Sumter County deputy who was in the theater quickly subdued the gunman and took possession of his weapon, police said. The off-duty cop, who held Reeves until arresting officers arrived, was not immediately identified.

Tampa police identified Reeves as a former captain who retired 20 years ago after helping create the department's Tactical Response Team.

“There were a lot of heroes in that movie theater today,” Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said.

A pair of nurses who were at the movie also sprang into action, performing CPR in an effort to save Oulson.

The Oulsons were airlifted to Tampa General Hospital, where Chad Oulson was pronounced dead. His wife had put her hand in front of her husband in an attempt to block the bullet. She’s now being treated at the hospital.

The shooting occurred around 1:30 p.m. today at the Cobb Grove 16 Theater in Wesley Chapel, Fla., north of Tampa.

Police noted that the shooter and victims did not appear to know one another. About 25 people were in the theater at the time of the shooting.

Reeves was charged with second degree homicide.