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Wednesday, Apr 01, 2015
Crime & Courts

Theater shooting suspect struck by 'unknown object' staff

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The retired Tampa police captain arrested in the fatal shooting of a man inside a Wesley Chapel movie theater Monday afternoon said the victim struck him in the face with an "unknown object" prior to the shooting.

According to the arrest affadavit, Curtis Reeves Jr., 71 - who will make his first appearance before a Pasco County judge today at 1 - told deputies the argument at the Grove 16 theater stemmed from Chad Oulson using his cell phone to text his 3-year-old daughter.

Reeves faces a charge of second-degree homicide.

While Reeves awaited his court appearance today, a woman who only identified herself as Chad's sister answered the door as rain fell at his Land O' Lakes home.

The sister said the family was still in shock and had no comment on what took place Monday afternoon. She said she and her mother traveled from Illinois Monday night.

The house sat quiet with the garage door open. One car was in the driveway, while inside the garage, a motocross motorcycle rested on a stand. Next to it was a gold pickup truck. In front of the motorcycle was a child's wagon.

That motorcycle played a large part in Oulson's life, according to friends who spoke about him Monday night.

"He loved his job, loved his family, loved motocross, loved the motorcycle world," friend Joseph Detrapani said Monday night. "He grew up riding motocross and loved to keep doing it, even at his age of 43, he's still out there every weekend riding in East Bay and all that."

Oulson and his wife, Nicole, were sitting in front of Reeves and his wife and texting as they waited for the movie "Lone Survivor" to begin, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.

Detectives said Reeves asked Oulson several times to stop texting.

Reeves eventually left the theater to complain to staff. When he returned, Oulson asked whether Reeves had reported him to management, the sheriff's office said.

The two began to argue and Oulson threw a bag of popcorn at Reeves, an arrest report said. Reeves later told a detective that Oulson stood up and struck him in the face with an "unknown object," the report said.

Reeves then pulled out a .380-caliber semiautomatic pistol from his pants pocket and shot Oulson in the chest, the sheriff's office said. Nicole Oulson put her hand in front of her husband as the shot was fired, and the same bullet struck both of them, the sheriff's office said.

After the shooting, Reeves put the gun in his lap and Cpl. Alan Hamilton, an off-duty Sumter County sheriff's deputy who had come to see the movie with his wife, secured the weapon and detained Reeves until Pasco sheriff's deputies arrived, the sheriff's office reported.

Reeves retired from the Tampa Police Department on Sept. 30, 1993, and does not appear to have had any contact with the agency since his retirement, said police spokeswoman Laura McElroy. Reeves was instrumental in establishing the department's Tactical Response Team, she said. His son, Mathew Reeves, works for the department as a patrol officer.

Reeves also served as director of security at Busch Gardens, a position he left in 2005.

On Monday, Grove 16 management had put a message on the theater website to say the theater was temporarily closed "due to circumstance beyond our control." The theater is expected to remain closed today.

Stay with for updates.

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