The 71-year-old ex-cop accused of shooting a fellow moviegoer in a fight over texting makes his first court appearance. Authorities say Curtis Reeves lost it because the man seated in front of him at a luxury movie theater was texting on his cellphone.
Reeves was wearing a special suicide prevention suit at his court hearing. His wife sat in the front row of the court. Reeves' lawyer says the man who was shot caused the tragedy.
"The alleged victim attacked him. Struck him with an object which resulted in the gunfire," stated his attorney.
Across America, people are expressing astonishment that a stupid argument over texting at the movies would end in death.
"Texting in a movie is not worth violence, that's for sure," said one woman outside a movie theatre in New York.
On The View, Whoopi Goldberg said, "If you want to send a text, get up, and step out."
The Tampa tragedy is the latest dispute over texting or using cell phones at the movies.
Madonna recently ticked off people when she texted during the premiere of 12 Years A Slave. One cinema chain banned her as a result.
Requests are played before just about every movie in the USA, telling audiences to shut off their phones.
Just yesterday, an irate movie goer left a voice message at a theater after she got kicked out for texting, saying, "I was wondering if you guys enjoy treating your customers like a piece of (blank)?" [Source: Gawker.com]
Tragically, this latest dispute in Tampa turned deadly.
Anger management expert Chloe Carmichael told INSIDE EDITION, "This terrible tragedy definitely has something to do with people not recognizing the signs that a situation is escalating out of control, and that responding by removing themselves before disaster."
Curtis Reeves allegedly pulled a pistol and shot 43-year-old Chad Oulson dead. He was with his wife and he had been texting their three-year-old daughter.
Here's what we've learned about the accused killer: He retired as a police captain in 1993. He is a former security chief at Busch Gardens theme park in Tampa.
The nightmare happened around 1:00 pm at the Cobb Cine-Bistro outside Tampa. The theater is part of a hot new trend in luxury cinemas, boasting comfortable leather seating and waiters who bring high-end food to the tables. The theater was playing Lone Survivor, the new Mark Wahlberg movie about an ill-fated U.S. commando mission in Afghanistan.
While the previews were still rolling, witnesses say Oulson started texting his daughter. They say Reeves asked him repeatedly to stop. One witness said, "Someone throws popcorn. I'm not sure who threw the popcorn. Then, bang, he was shot."
Cops say 43-year-old Oulson was shot in the chest. Oulson's wife, Nicole was shot in the hand when she tried to protect her husband.
Dressed in a white forensics suit and clutching a bottle of water, the accused shooter strolled casually to a police cruiser after his arrest.
He appeared via video link on a second degree murder charge Tuesday. It was standing room only in the courtroom for the hearing.
He has a son who is also a police officer and was quoted as saying, "He's still my idol."