Man accused in fatal 2014 moviegoer shooting: 'It was his life or mine'

In court testimony nowadays, Curtis Reeves described the altercation in January 2014 that ended with his fatally shooting yet another moviegoer over texting, calling it at one point a "life-or-death struggle." Reeves, 74, a former police captain and former...

Man accused in fatal 2014 moviegoer shooting: 'It was his life or mine'

In court testimony nowadays, Curtis Reeves described the altercation in January 2014 that ended with his fatally shooting yet another moviegoer over texting, calling it at one point a "life-or-death struggle."

Reeves, 74, a former police captain and former amusement park security director, is accused of shooting and killing 43-year-old Chad Oulson on Jan. 13, 2014, before a displaying of "Lone Survivor," police mentioned.

"At that point, it was his life or mine," Reeves testified, when asked by the defense why he shot Oulson that day.

If Circuit Court Judge Susan Barthle guidelines in favor of Reeves, he will acquire immunity from prosecution and will leave the court as a free of charge man with no criminal murder charges beneath Florida's "stand your ground" law.

Must Barthle choose Reeves did not meet the criteria to "stand his ground" throughout the encounter with Oulson, he will proceed to a criminal trial at a later date, where he can claim self-defense in the shooting but will not be capable to use the protection under the "stand your ground" law.

Prosecutors say Reeves provoked the confrontation, The Linked Press reported, which means he wouldn't be protected by the law.

Ahead of the shooting, Reeves had complained about Oulson's use of his telephone to film theater personnel, authorities mentioned at the time. When Reeves returned to the theater, the argument escalated.

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Witnesses told police that Oulson threw a container of popcorn at Reeves prior to he was shot, police said. His wife, Nicole, was also shot in the hand. She told ABC News in 2014 that her husband was texting the babysitter, who was watching their young daughter.

Reeves testified nowadays that Oulson and Nicole were seated in front of him and his wife. During previews ahead of the film, Reeves mentioned he'd waited 15 seconds to 30 seconds before asking Oulson to put his cellphone away. Reeves said Oulson responded with "Eff off or get the eff out of my face."

Reeves said he saw Nicole attain over and attempt to speak to Oulson so he sat back to see what happened. When the cellphone remained out, Reeves testified, he went to speak to theater management. He said when he returned to the theater, Oulson gave him a "stare." He stated he did notice that Oulson did not have his telephone out, so he apologized in what he called a "goodwill gesture."

"I said, 'You're not on your telephone. Sorry I involved theater management,'" Reeves stated.

As he was sitting down, though, Reeves stated Oulson stood up immediately, turned about and "was just becoming loud."

"When I looked up, he was coming more than the seat at me, across the front of exactly where my wife was. ... And I was hit in the face," Reeves mentioned.

Reeves mentioned Oulson hit him more than his left eye, knocking his glasses to the side of his head.

"Almost everything was blurry," he said now. "I was sort of dazed. I was disoriented. I was trying to get my thought processes back with each other as to what happened for the reason that it was so unexpected."

Reeves mentioned he could nevertheless hear Oulson yelling, working with profanity and saying that he was texting his daughter. Reeves said he tried to get out of seat to stand up but could not since he was nevertheless holding onto popcorn. He mentioned he attempted to lean back in his seat to create distance involving himself and Oulson but there was a wall behind his row of seats.

Reeves mentioned he could see Oulson's wife, Nicole, attempting to hold him back.

"I recognize I'm trapped," Reeves stated. "I can not get up. I can't get out. He's suitable in front of me. And he's attempting to come over the chairs."

Reeves stated at some point, he reached for his .380 semi-automatic handgun that was in his pants pocket.

"He was all of a sudden right in front of me. ... Looking down at me and he was yelling," Reeves said. "He was reaching for me."

"There is a point where you see somebody obtaining prepared to set up and to punch you and he was finding prepared to punch me and I perceived that at some point. ... That is when the pistol came out," he said.

When asked by defense lawyer Richard Escobar what he did with that pistol, Reeves stated, "I shot him."

Asked whether or not he wanted to shoot Oulson, Reeves said: "Absolutely not."

When Escobar asked him no matter whether he felt like Oulson would hurt him, he mentioned: "No query about it."

Reeves spent the initially two hours of his testimony nowadays chronicling his almost 27 years of practical experience in law enforcement, as effectively as his later operate in private safety.

Reeves testified that he served numerous roles with the Tampa Police Division in Florida. He began as a patrolman before getting promoted to detective and later a sergeant. He developed and designed a SWAT group for the department, and by the early 1980s rose to the rank of captain.

He stated he became a program coordinator for the department and subsequently began teaching two to 3 classes at the police academy mainly because of his in depth coaching in firearms. In 1988, he was diagnosed with cancer and stated he was worried that he wouldn't be in a position to return to function.

After surgery and radiation therapy, he was able to return to the department, exactly where he took over the vice-narcotics division. 5 years later, in 1993, he retired. He then took over as director of security at Busch Gardens, a Tampa amusement park, when he mentioned his concentrate was much less law enforcement and far more public relations and maintaining the guests pleased.

His lawyer spent a portion of the time displaying the several certificates acquired by Reeves, like 1 from the FBI Training College for productive communication as properly as one from the National Rifle Association for teaching handgun security to the public.

Bond was initially denied for Reeves, but he was freed in July 2014 right after spending six months in a Pasco County jail and posting $150,000 bail, the Tampa Bay Occasions reported. He has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, claiming self-defense.

ABC News staff contributed to story.

Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.

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