Las Vegas Sun

April 17, 2014

Currently: 84° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Retired Florida cop in court for theater shooting

Updated Friday, Feb. 7, 2014 | 8:32 a.m.

DADE CITY, Fla. (AP) — A retired Tampa police officer accused of shooting another man in a movie theater told detectives in the hours after the incident that he was scared and shot in self-defense, according to an interview played in court Friday.

"If I had it to do over again, it would have never happened," Curtis Reeves told Pasco County Sheriff's detectives. "But you don't get do-overs."

Witnesses, including one of the detectives who interviewed Reeves in the wake of the Jan. 13 shooting, testified Friday morning. It was the second day in a bond hearing for Reeves, 71, who is charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Chad Oulson, 43. Reeves pleaded not guilty Wednesday in a Pasco County Court.

The bond hearing began Wednesday. After nearly nine hours of testimony from Reeves' friends and family and from prosecution witnesses to the Jan. 13 shooting, Judge Pat Siracusa continued the hearing to a second day.

Siracusa said he wanted to give both sides ample time for testimony because state prosecutors are asking for Reeves, who has lived in the region his entire life, to be held without bail.

Pasco County Sheriff's detectives said Reeves became upset when Oulson was texting during the movie previews. Oulson and his wife were sitting in front of Reeves and his wife.

Oulson's wife, Vivian, told a detective that she suggested to her husband: "Let's just move."

Reeves exited the theater and talked to a manager, then returned and that's when the shooting occurred. Witnesses said they didn't see Oulson hit, touch or strike Reeves, but some saw popcorn flying toward Reeves.

"This happened so damn fast," Reeves told Detective Allen Proctor. Reeves also said a woman with Oulson — later identified as Nicole Oulson, Chad's wife — was "holding him back." Nicole Oulson was shot in the hand by the same bullet that killed her husband, authorities said.

Reeves told Proctor that Oulson hit him in the face and that his glasses became askew.

"It scared the hell out of me," said Oulson, adding that had he been younger, he would have "wrassled" Oulson to the ground. "The guy was very aggressive."

Reeves wife told a detective during a recorded interview that she didn't see Oulson strike her husband, but he told her he had been hit in the moments after the shooting.

Vivian Reeves also told detectives that Oulson didn't make any threats — Oulson did use some expletives, she said — but that he stood up and turned around, leaning over toward Reeves.

She was crying during the interview with detectives and said she didn't know why her husband fired the single shot.

"He was in law enforcement 20 years, and he never shot anybody," she said. "He's never threatened anybody with a gun."

Later Friday, Nicole Oulson is expected to testify.

In an interview this week on ABC's "The View," Oulson said her husband was texting with their daughter's baby sitter.

The two men got into a verbal argument and witnesses told officers Oulson threw popcorn at Reeves. Defense attorney Richard Escobar has said his client was afraid and defended himself.

Nicole Oulson said her husband had tried ignoring Reeves.

"(Reeves) had confronted my husband several times, which my husband ignored and ignored and ignored. And it just got to a point where my husband spoke up," she said.

Reeves has been in jail since the Jan. 13 incident. If convicted, he could face a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison.

On Wednesday, Reeves' attorney called four witnesses, including Reeves' daughter, to testify that he does not have anger issues and that he would not be a risk to the public if the judge released him on bond.

Reeves also is charged with aggravated battery over Nicole Oulson's injury.

___

Follow Tamara Lush on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tamaralush