The early reports about what happened Monday afternoon inside a movie theater near Tampa are certainly disturbing:
“It started with a father sending text messages to his daughter during the previews of a movie,” CNN writes. “It ended with the 43-year-old man shot dead amid the theater seats, and a 71-year-old retired police officer in custody.”
The Tampa Bay Times starts its story this way:
“Charles Cummings and his son, Alex, settled into their seats at the Cobb Grove 16 Monday for the 1:20 p.m. showing of Lone Survivor. During the previews [they say], a man sitting two seats away texted noisily on his phone. The man behind him, retired Tampa police officer Curtis Reeves Jr., asked him to stop several times.
“Reeves left for a few minutes and returned. An argument erupted. Popcorn flew. Then, authorities said, Reeves pulled out a pistol and fired at the man.”
Chad Oulson was later pronounced dead at a local hospital. His wife Nicole, 33, was treated for an injury to her hand. The bullet that killed her husband apparently struck her first as she reached in front of him.
Reeves was held at the scene by an off-duty sheriff’s deputy who happened to be there to see the movie. He’s been charged with second-degree murder.
We should remind everyone that these are just the initial reports about what happened. The story may change. But regardless, “it’s absolutely crazy it would rise to this level over somebody just texting in a movie theater,” Pasco County (Fla.) Sheriff Chris Nocco told reporters Monday.
According to Alex Cummings, who as CNN says was sitting close to Oulson, among the dying man’s last words were: “I can’t believe I got shot.”
News reports say the daughter Oulson was texting is 3-years-old.
Update at 11:45 a.m. ET. No Punches, Only Popcorn Was Thrown, Witnesses Say.
“Witnesses in Monday’s fatal movie theater shooting said the man who was killed hurled a bag of popcorn at the shooter, who then pulled a handgun and fired. No punches were thrown between the men, according to a Pasco sheriff’s report.”