Man Accused in Movie Text Killing Had Just ... Texted
Curtis Reeves sent text of his own minutes before the shooting
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 13, 2014 5:51 PM CDT
A file photo of Curtis Reeves in court.   (AP Photo/The Tampa Tribune, Andy Jones, Pool, File)

(Newser) – The 71-year-old Florida man who fatally shot a fellow moviegoer who was texting during previews had sent a text of his own about 15 minutes earlier, reports the Tampa Bay Times. Curtis Reeves responded to a text from his son, who was supposed to meet his parents in the theater but was running late, with a text saying that he and his wife were already in their seats, according to newly released court documents. It's unclear whether any previews were playing at the time, but they definitely were 15 minutes later when Reeves got into an altercation with Chad Oulson, who was texting his daughter's babysitter.

Reeves claims self-defense, saying the 43-year-old Oulson confronted him when Reeves told him to stop texting. He is charged with second-degree murder and aggravated battery, the latter because the bullet that killed Oulson also struck Oulson's wife in the finger. The AP notes two other tidbits from the new documents:

  • Reeves, a retired Tampa cop, had received letters of commendation during his career for leading training seminars on, among other things, gun safety.
  • A 35-year-old woman told investigators that Reeves got upset with her in December—a month before the fatal shooting—because she was texting in the same theater. She said he stared at her throughout the movie.