PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – In a Dade City courtroom, retired Tampa Police officer Curtis Reeves watched two to three seconds of his life play over and over, in a frame-by-frame analysis of a shooting that happened in a Wesley Chapel movie theater.
Reeves had gone to the theater with his wife to see the movie “Lone Survivor.”
As previews were playing for other movies on the big screen, Reeves was annoyed because another man in the theater was texting.
Reeves told the man to put the phone away. When he didn’t, Reeves went out to complain to theater managers.
Reeves then came back into the theater and the other man, Chad Oulson, had put his phone away.
Accounts over what happened next differ greatly.
Reeves claims he leaned over to thank the man for putting his phone away and apologize for going out to complain to the manager.
Reeves defense lawyer claims the second contact set Oulson off, who then started screaming and swearing at Reeves.
Oulson then stood in front of Reeves, who was seated. The younger man grabbed popcorn out of Reeves’ hands and threw it at him.
Reeves claims Oulson also threw his cell phone at him, but in the darkened theater, in a split second decision, Reeves thought for an instant Oulson might have a gun.
Reeves, took out his weapon and fired a single shot. The bullet went through Oulson’s arm, through Oulson’s wife’s outstretched hand and killed Chad Oulson.
The defense claims Reeves was in fear of his life and is asking the court to throw out murder charges, based on Florida’s controversial “stand your ground law”
Joanne Turner was in the theater that day and heard the two men arguing.
“After that, I see popcorn flying and very quickly I see a ring of fire,” said Turner as she testified in court about the shooting.
“Then, I saw Mr Reeves put his gun down and he was holding his face with his hands,” said Turner.
The state contends Reeves was the aggressor and didn’t have to shoot Oulson.
Reeves’ wife is expected to testify Wednesday about what she saw that day in the theater.
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