Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Florida: Retired Tampa Police Captain Shoots, Kills Fellow Movie-Goer for Texting

According to Fox News, a retired Tampa Police Department captain, Curtis Reeves, Jr., shot and killed Chad Oulson, 43, and injured his wife, Nicole, during a dispute inside a Wesley Chapel [Tampa] movie theater on Monday (January 13).

The dispute occurred at approximately 1330 hours when Reeves, who was in the company of his wife, told Chad Oulson to stop texting during the previews of a mid-day showing. When Oulson refused, Reeves alerted the theater staff, which escalated the confrontation.

Subsequently, and without provocation, pulled out a concealed .380 semi-auto handgun and shot Oulson. Oulson's wife, Nicole, instinctively put her hand in front of her husband in an effort to protect him and was injured by then gunshot as well. Chad Oulson subsequently died from the gunshot.

An off-duty police officer who was present at the scene restrained Reeves until authorities arrived.

COMMENT: Reeves, who retired from the Tampa Police Department 21 years ago as a captain, was charged with second-degree homicide at the theater.

The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act, which became a federal law in 2004, authorizes two classes of persons: a qualified law enforcement officer and a qualified retired law enforcement officer to carry a concealed firearm in any jurisdiction in the US, regardless of state or local laws, with certain exceptions.

It should be noted that the Act was vigorously opposed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Police Executive Research Forum and the United States Conference of Mayors.
Consequently, at the time of the shooting, Reeves was authorized to carry a concealed weapon on the basis of the 2004 law.

Yet, no doubt, the shooting death of Chad Oulson and the injury to his wife will cause the LEOSA to be carefully reviewed, including annual "shoot or don't shoot" training for elderly retired officers whose reaction time and judgment have changed as they have aged.

Sadly, though, unchecked anger, in a matter of seconds, changed the lives of so many, including the young daughter of the Oulsons who Chad Oulson was texting with.

Although I myself am licensed in the State of Michigan to carry a concealed firearm, I abhor those seemingly incapable of mitigating a simple verbal dispute successfully. 

A wrongful death lawsuit is also likely to stem from this tragedy which will only further add to the grief already experienced by  Mrs. Reeves.

I don't envy the judge who will try this case.