An argument over texting inside a Wesley Chapel theater led to a fight and shooting that left a man dead and his wife wounded Monday afternoon.
The suspect is a retired Tampa Police captain, Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said.
Curtis Reeves, 71, now faces a second-degree murder charge.
"It's crazy. I never thought something like this would happen at our theater," said Leny Vega, a theater employee.
shooting occurred at the Cobb Grove 16 Theater at at 6333 Wesley Grove
Boulevard near State Road 54 and I-75 around 1:30 p.m.
are identified as Chad and Nicole Oulson. Chad Oulson was texting
before the movie started, Sheriff Nocco said. Sitting behind them were
Reeves and his wife.
Nocco said Reeves asked Oulson to stop
texting. When he didn't, Reeves went to the lobby to complain. When he
returned to his seat, an argument ensued and then turned physical.
pulled a .380 pistol and shot Oulson, Nocco said. Witnesses told
deputies Oulson had just texted his 3-year-old daughter. Oulson's wife
had put her hand in front of her husband and was shot in the hand.
then sat down and put the gun on his lap. An off-duty Sumter County
deputy happened to be in the theater and acted to secure the weapon.
said the movie, "Lone Survivor," had not yet started when the shooting
occurred. It wasn't immediately clear how many people were inside the
theater during the gunfire.
According to Tampa Police, Reeves
retired from TPD as a captain in 1993 and was instrumental in
establishing the department's first Tactical Response Team. In a
release, a department spokesperson said there was no indication that
Reeves had any contact with TPD since his retirement.
happening like that in little Wesley Chapel is just, I never even
thought it would happen," said theater employee Gabriel Mena.
in the immediate area was shut down. "It is absolutely crazy that it
would rise to this level of altercation over somebody just texting in a
movie theater," Nocco said.
In summer 2012, a man killed a dozen people and injured 70 at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. Twenty-six-year-old James Holmes is charged in the killings.
PHOTOS: Aurora shooting, trial of James Holmes
the first call came in and you're hearing a shooting at a movie
theater, The first thing you think is those critical incidents that have
gone on throughout the country. That's why we train for them," Nocco
Late Monday afternoon, Cobb Theatres issued the following statement:
are deeply saddened by the events that occurred earlier today, and our
thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. The
theatre is currently closed, and we are actively working with the
sheriff’s office on this investigation. This was an isolated altercation
between two guests that escalated unexpectedly. The safety, security
and comfort of our guests and team members are always our top
priorities, and we are truly heartbroken by this incident.”