PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Today is day two in the “stand your ground” hearing involving a retired Tampa Police Department captain. Yesterday, we heard from Curtis Reeves’ family. Today, we are expected to hear from other witnesses who were also in the theater at the time of the shooting.
On January 13, 2014, retired Tampa Police officer Curtis Reeves and his wife were just sitting down to see the movie “Lone Survivor” in a Wesley Chapel movie theater when a problem quickly grew out of control.
Reeves was annoyed because a man in front of him was using his cell phone.
“Mr. Reeves leans forward, and asks him politely to please put away his phone. The answer he got was a curse-filled response,” said defense attorney Dino Michaels.
Chad Oulson was there to see the movie with his wife too, but Oulson’s wife would later say there was a problem with the care of their young daughter, and her husband was trying to work it out with text messages.
Reeves got up to speak to theater managers, and when he walked back in, Oulson had put his phone away.
Reeves later claimed he leaned over to apologize to the younger man, but the state says that Oulson felt it was an aggressive move.
The state acknowledges that Oulson then stood up and screamed at Reeves.
“He wanted Mr. Reeves to just leave him alone,” said Assistant State Attorney Glenn Martin.
The defense is asking for charges in the case to be dropped, based on Florida’s “stand your ground” law.
“This case is about perception, so it’s important that we understand who Mr. Reeves is,” said Michaels.
The hearing is expected to take up to two weeks.
There will be several witnesses to the shooting who were in the theater at the time, including Reeves’s adult son, who had just arrived at the theater when he heard his father arguing with the younger man.
“I heard my father’s voice say something to the effect of, ‘Get off of me, or get out of my face,’” said Matthew Reeves.
The next thing he heard was a gunshot.
Matthew Reeves then ran to his father’s side, and helped Oulson to the ground as he began to slump after the shot was fired.
“I immediately started to check his body and I lifted his shirt up to see where the gun shot wound was,” said Reeves.
He even spoke to Oulson as he was dying from the gun shot his father had just fired.
“I was basically talking to Mr. Olson at the time, telling him he was going to be okay and telling him to keep looking at me. Keep breathing,” said Reeves.
Circuit Judge Susan Barthle is listening to the testimony in the hearing. There is no jury.
If Barthle rules the shooting is justified under the “stand your ground” law, she could release Reeves from all charges.
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