A retired Tampa homicide captain texted his son moments before he allegedly shot and killed another movie patron during a dispute about texting during the previews, documents released Thursday show.
Pasco County Sheriff's detectives said that just before 71-year-old Curtis Reeves shot Chad Oulson, he messaged his son, Matthew, a Tampa police officer, who on his way to meet his parents for a Jan. 13 matinee of Lone Survivor.
Matthew Reeves told detectives he was running late because he had stopped to wash his truck. When he entered the darkened theater in in Wesley Chapel, Fla., he heard, but did not see, the fatal gunshot, the Associated Press reported.
Matthew Reeves used another patron's t-shirt to try to stanch the bleeding from Oulson's chest wound, one detective wrote in his report. The 43-year-old father died not long after; his wife suffered a hand wound trying to shield her husband from the single bullet from Reeves' semiautomatic pistol.
The shooting came after preview for the remake of RoboCop. One theater-goer said he wasn't sure if the gunfire was real because the movie trailer "had a lot of gunshots in it."
Curtis Reeves, who worked in the Tampa Police Department for 27 years and created its SWAT unit, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and aggravated battery. He is being held without bail.
Reeves told police he had asked Oulson to stop texting during the previews, and then left briefly to complain to the manager. When he returned to his seat, the argument escalated and Oulson, who had texted their babysitter, allegedly tossed popcorn at Reeves.
Reeves claimed that Oulson struck him in the face with an "unknown object," possibly his cellphone, and that he fired in self-defense. Witnesses, including Reeves' wife, told detectives Oulson never hit Reeves.