• U.S.

Texting-In-Theater Shooting Suspect Expresses Remorse

3 minute read

Updated at 6:25 p.m. EST on Friday, February 7

A Florida judge listened to audio recordings Friday of police interviews of a suspect who allegedly fatally shot another man for texting in a Wesley Chapel movie theater, just north of Tampa. In the interview, retired police captain Curtis Reeves said, “As soon as I pulled the trigger, I said, ‘Oh, shoot.'”

Reeves, 71, has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Navy veteran Chad Oulson, 43, and was denied bail in a ruling late Friday afternoon. The confrontation began during the previews for Lone Survivor on Jan. 13 when Reeves asked Oulson to put away his cell phone. The ensuing confrontation ended with Oulson shot through the chest. Reeves has pled not guilty, and the judge will decide at the end of the bail hearing whether Oulson will be released pending trial, NBC News reports.

“If I had to do it over again, that would never happen,” Reeves said in police interviews that played in court Friday. “We would have moved. But you don’t get do-overs.” He added that his wife became upset at him after the incident. “She said, ‘We should have just moved.’ [To her] there’s no justification for what happened in there.”

Reeves told investigators that Oulson hit him with either his cellphone or his fist during the confrontation, and the defense offered two versions of a security video to prove that Oulson had been physically threatening Reeves. “It scared the hell out of me,” Reeves said. “He kept hollering. He led me to believe he was going to kick my ass.”

But both Reeves’ and Oulson’s wives said in their police interviews that they never saw Oulson hit Reeves. In Nicole Oulson’s interview she describes how she was wounded by the shot that killed her husband. According to her interview, Reeves told Oulson to turn off his phone, and her husband replied that he would “in a minute.” Reeves yelled at Oulson to “shut it off now” before leaving to get a manager.

When Reeves returned, Oulson had turned off his phone, but Reeves continued to hassle Oulson. “Now you put it away?” Reeves asked, according to Oulson’s widow. She says her husband then stood up and asked Reeves, “What’s your problem.” She added that she did not see her husband hit or physically threaten Reeves. She put her hand on her husband’s chest to ask him to sit down, at which point the shot rang out, injuring her and killing her husband.

According to Nicole Oulson, Reeves sat back down without trying to help Oulson. “He leaned back… didn’t try to help,” she said. “He just sat there as all the chaos was going on.”

This story has been updated with news that the suspect, Curtis Reeves, was denied bail.


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Write to Eliana Dockterman at eliana.dockterman@time.com