A 71-year-old retired police officer man in has been charged with second-degree murder after shooting another man to death over the latter’s texting in a movie theater.
Curtis Reeves, the armed retired officer, became enraged when Chad Oulson would not stop texting, despite a request to do so. The argument escalated into a shouting match and Oulson purportedly threw his bag of popcorn at Reeves, who promptly removed his .380 caliber gun from his pants pocket and fired one fatal shot into the man’s chest. Oulson’s wife, who attempted to shield her husband’s chest from the bullet with her hand, was also injured.
The movie playing throughout the real-life carnage was “Lone Survivor,” about Navy SEALS in Afghanistan.
Oulson was immediately taken to a Tampa-area hospital, where he died shortly after arrival.
Charles Cummings, a retired combat Marine in Vietnam, who witnessed the shooting with his son expressed his horrified bewilderment to the Associated Press.
“I can’t believe people would bring a pistol, a gun, to a movie theater,” he said. “I can’t believe they would argue and fight and shoot one another over popcorn. Over a cellphone.”
Also according to AP, Reeves told detectives after he was arrested that Oulson struck him in the face with an unknown object, and that he “was in fear of being attacked.”
Defense attorneys are now speculating whether Reeves will be able to invoke Florida’s “Stand your ground” law in his defense, the infamous statute used to defend, and ultimately acquit George Zimmerman in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin.
“Stand your ground does not limit it to just fear of death, stand your ground permits you to use deadly force if you think you’re abou tto suffer bodily harm,” said well known defense attorney Stephen Romine to KSDK.
The next step in the case, say criminal law experts, will likely be the defense filing a stand your ground motion, at which point the judge will decide if the defense can be used.
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