WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. - A Florida woman claims Curtis Reeves, the retired Tampa police officer accused of fatally shooting another man after an argument at a movie theater over texting, became upset with her two weeks ago when she was texting before a movie, and also confronted another man, reports CBS affiliate WTSP.
“He became more irate and upset at the situation. He kept staring at us and giving us dirty looks,” Jamira Dixon said.
Dixon told the station she felt threatened in the theater.
“The guy that was in front of us started texting and the guy said, ‘Hey, can youPLEASE stop texting?’ He was very loud,” Dixon said of Reeves.
Dixon reportedly said her blood ran cold when she heard about the shooting Monday at a movie theater in Wesley Chapel, Fla. that left 42-year-old Chad Oulson dead.
“It really hits so close to home. It really makes you think of how things could have went,” Dixon said.”...It could have been us.”
The 71-year-old Reeves is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Oulson. He was ordered held without bond Tuesday pending another hearing.
Pasco County sheriff’s officials said Reeves initially asked Oulson to stop texting at the theater.
Sheriff’s Detective Allen Proctor wrote that Reeves spoke to Oulson during the movie previews, then got up and informed management.
When Reeves returned to his seat “additional words were exchanged” and Oulson threw a bag of popcorn at Reeves, the report said.
After officers read him his rights, Reeves told the detective that Oulson struck him in the face with an unknown object, and that’s when he removed a .380-caliber gun from his pants pocket. The report said Reeves fired the gun and struck Oulson once in the chest and said that he “was in fear of being attacked.”
Sheriff Chris Nocco said at a news conference that Reeves’ son — who was off duty from his job as a Tampa police officer — was walking into the theater when the shooting happened. Nocco said Reeves briefly struggled with an off-duty deputy but released the weapon. The gun was jammed and unable to fire again.
Pasco Sgt. Steve Greiner was among the first officers in the theater. When asked about Reeves’ demeanor, Greiner replied: “He was very calm. He was seated in the chair, looking at the screen.”
At the hearing, Judge Lynn Tepper said she found the evidence significant enough to warrant the no-bond order.
Reeves faces life in prison if convicted. He only spoke once during his court appearance, to say “Yes, ma’am” to the judge when she asked him if he could afford to hire his own attorney. Reeves appeared in court via a video link from the jail.
As a police officer for more than two decades until his retirement in 1993, Reeves regularly received outstanding evaluations and numerous letters of commendation for his leadership skills and training he led for other agencies on gun safety and other topics. He was also routinely praised for his problem-solving and ability to manage stressful situation.
“He must have just snapped,” said neighbor Joe D’Andrea, who described Reeves as a friendly, “stand-up” guy. “I’m trying to put all of this together.”