“Please turn off your cell phone during the movie” turned out to be a fatal warning for one Florida man after he was shot to death in a theater Monday by a retired police officer for texting during the movie.
Chad Oulson, 43, of Land O’ Lakes, Fla. was texting his three-year-old daughter during the previews before “Lone Survivor” at the Cobb Grove 16 movie theater outside of Tampa when retired Tampa Police Captain Curtis Reeves, 71, asked him to stop several times.
Reeves left to get a manager but came back into the theater alone, where Oulson tried to explain he was texting his child.
“Three seconds, four seconds later, the argument starts again,” a witness told a Fox 13 reporter outside the theater Monday. “Their voices start going up; there seems to be almost a confrontation. Somebody throws popcorn, I’m not sure who threw the popcorn, and, bang, he was shot.”
An off-duty officer from another county then detained Reeves while a nurse from the audience tried to use CPR to keep Oulson alive until first responders arrived. Oulson was with his wife, Nicole, who was also wounded after she placed her hand over her husband right before he was shot.
Reeves, who retired from the Tampa Police Department in 1993, has been charged with second-degree murder.
“Despite the tragic altercation in a Florida movie theater, which as reported is an isolated incident, movie theaters are a safe and enjoyable entertainment destination for millions of people,” National Association of Theater Owners spokesman Patrick Corcoran told reporters. “We encourage our patrons to remember that they are sharing a common wish to be entertained and to treat their fellow moviegoers with courtesy and respect.”