Three years ago, retire Tampa (FL) police captain Curtis Reeves Jr. shot and killed Chad Oulson in a dispute than began when Reeves complained over Oulson’s texting during the previews of a movie. Reeves is now attempting to claim he was merely “standing his ground” and “in fear for his life” when he shot Oulson to death, in a hearing that is now in its second week.
Former Tampa Police Department captain Curtis Reeves, who shot and killed a man inside a Pasco County theater, is expected to take the stand on Tuesday in a hearing to determine if the shooting meets Florida’s Stand Your Ground criteria.
He was initially expected to testify on Monday.
Curtis Reeves claims he shot and killed Chad Oulson inside the Cobb Grove 16 Theaters in Wesley Chapel back in 2014 because he feared for his life.
The state maintains Reeves murdered Oulson.
The men had been arguing because Oulson was texting during previews to the movie “Lone Survivor,” and Reeves asked him to stop.
Attorneys for Reeves tell WFLA News Channel 8 he’s expected to testify Tuesday.
As of Monday, February 27, more than two dozen witnesses had been called to the stand by the defense.
Reeves apparently instigated the conflict with Oulson over his texting during the previews to a movie, and it went downhill from there.
Hours earlier, those inside the same courtroom got a chance to see surveillance video captured on January 13 from inside the Grove 16 theater in the Tampa suburb of Wesley Chapel.
The jumpy, grainy video shows Reeves return to his seat at 1:26:19 p.m., according to the video’s time stamp. Six seconds later, Reeves appears to lean forward but only for a second.
At 1:26:30 p.m., the video stops — likely because the motion sensors weren’t activated, according to previous testimony in Reeves’ bail hearing this week — but it starts recording again five seconds later.
That’s when a hand extends in front of Reeves, from the seat where victim Chad Oulson was reportedly sitting, and appears to snatch something from Reeves — the defense has repeatedly said Oulson threw popcorn — and throws it into Reeves’ face.
Reeves’ right hand, the one Reeves told police he used to shoot Oulson, thrusts forward at 1:26:37 p.m. A strange dust falls in front of the surveillance video lens as theater patrons begin walking over to the area where Reeves remains seated. It’s the row behind where a mortally wounded Oulson is taking his last breaths.
Friday’s hearing began with police testimony and video of police interviews with Reeves and his wife immediately after the shooting.
During that interview, Reeves told police he had “reason to believe (Oulson) was going to kick my ass” after Reeves confronted the 43-year-old Navy veteran over his texting during the previews to “Lone Survivor.”
Reeves and his wife both told police that Oulson began using foul language, and Reeves left to talk to a theater manager. When he returned, Oulson stood up and turned around to confront Reeves, he said.
“I see that he’s very explosive, unnecessarily,” Reeves told police. “It scared the crap out of me.”
Oulson edged toward Reeves — and “he’s virtually on top of me” — and Reeves told him either “no, no, no” or “whoa, whoa, whoa,” he couldn’t remember which, he told the police interrogator.
“He hit me with something. I assume it was his fist,” Reeves told police. “I think he had a cell phone in his hand because I saw the blur of the screen. … My face went sideways. My glasses came partially off.”
Widow Nicole Oulson smirked and shook her head as Reeves described the situation in court.
Vivian Reeves backed much of her husband’s story during her police interview, spelling out the f-word for police as she described Chad Oulson’s language during the altercation. Asked, though, if she saw Chad Oulson strike Curtis Reeves, she replied no. Her husband told her he had been struck after shooting Chad Oulson, she said.
There are no known witnesses to support Reeves’s claim that Oulson struck him with his hands or any other weapon-like object, just a bucket of popcorn Ouson snacked from Reeves hands, then threw back at him. Even his wife doesn’t agree with his claim. No physical evidence supports the claim that he was struck, either, though Reeves maintains that Oulson threw his cell phone at him, along with popcorn.
Reeves allegedly fired immediately after Oulson threw the popcorn.
Reeves is essentially attempting to claim that since Oulson was younger and bigger and using foul language, that he was justified in using deadly force. While Florida’s “stand your ground” law has been used successfully in many instances, the available evidence in this incident does not seem to support Reeves’s claim that Oulson constituted an imminent deadly force threat at the time he was shot. It in fact suggests that Reeves played a role in both instigating the initial confrontation, and he then re-instigated it after he returned from speaking to the theater manager.
The prosecution is expected to begin making their case during the stand your ground hearing tomorrow. If the judge denies Reeves claim of a “stand your ground” defense, the case will then move to trail for murder.