A retired police detective, Curtis Reeves, was denied bail by a Florida judge today on charges of second degree murder in the shooting death of a theater patron, according to ABC News, Feb. 7, 2014. The victim, Chad Oulson, 43, had been texting on his cell phone a few minutes earlier and had offended Reeves in so doing, thus leading to the altercation that resulted in Oulson's death.
According to witnesses, Reeves, 71, had told Oulson to stop texting and the men exchanged words. Reeves then left the movie aisle to go find the manager of the theater. Reeves then returned without the manager and the two men exchanged words again. Then Oulson allegedly threw a bag of popcorn onto Reeves' face, and Reeves immediately shot Oulson, killing him.
The altercation was caught on the movie theater video camera and the tape of the dramatic incident was played in court today. An audio tape of Reeves discussing the incident with detectives and telling them that he had shot Oulson because he was "scared:"
"I was defending myself. This guy scared me."
Reeves himself then described his own actions as "stupid" in his conversation with detectives, stating:
"As soon as I pulled the trigger, I said, 'Oh, this is stupid. There's no justification for what happened in there. If I had to do it over again, it would have never happened. We would have moved."
Based upon the theater video tape and Oulson's statement to detectives, the judge decided to deny Reeves' request for bail as he waits to stand trial on second degree murder charges. Law enforcement officials initially had considered not charging Reeves at all based upon Florida's "Stand Your Ground Law," but later determined that this law did not apply in this case.
Reeves' pretrial will start on March 12, 2014.