Pasco theater shooting suspect explains motive in recordings - WFLA News Channel 8

Pasco theater shooting suspect explains motive in recordings

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Retired Tampa police officer Curtis Reeves knew he had a right to remain silent, but couldn't help telling detectives in two recorded interviews why he shot and killed a fellow moviegoer in a dispute over texting.

He said shooting victim Chad Oulson, 43, was threatening him and he was terrified.

"I've never had anybody get in my face like that and it scared the crap out of me," Reeves said.

Reeves recorded statements came just hours after the January 13 shooting at the Cob Theater in Wesley Chapel while a veteran homicide detective from the Paso Sheriff's Office interviewed him in the back seat of a patrol car about why he shot Oulson.

Reeves explained that he'd gone to the theater manager to complain about Oulson's annoying texting during the previews and that Oulson became profane and threatening when Reeves returned to his seat.

Reeves said Oulson then rose from his seat, turned toward Reeves and leaned over while Reeves pressed himself as far back into his seat as he could get.

"He hit me with his fist or something," said Reeves. "I think, I think he had his cell phone in his hand."

Other witnesses reported seeing Oulson grab Reeves popcorn bag and throw it at him, which is also what blurry surveillance video from inside the theater seems to show. No one reported seeing a punch.

"I seen a bag of popcorn fly," said off duty Sumter County deputy Alan Hamilton who was sitting a few seats away on the same row as Reeves. "I seen his hand come up and then almost instantaneously I heard one shot."

Reeves wife Vivian said she didn't exactly see what happened in the instant before her husband drew his gun and shot Oulson, but she did remember trying to defuse the argument beforehand.

In her recorded statement, Vivian Reeves says she told her husband "let's just move and he said 'I'm going to get the manager."

It was shortly after Curtis Reeves returned from complaining to the manager when the shooting happened.

In his recorded statement to a detective, Reeves said his wife's unheeded advice to move was the right thing to do.

"That's exactly what I we should have done," Reeves said.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.



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