Curtis Reeves, accused in fatal Florida movie theater shooting, denied bail


Chad Oulson was shot and killed at a Wesley Chapel, Florida movie theater Monday, January 13, 2013. Former police officer Curtis Reeves has been charged with second-degree murder for allegedly shooting Oulson.

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The 71-year-old ex-police officer accused of shooting dead a man inside a Florida movie theater won’t get the chance to go home — at least for now — after a judge Friday decided not to grant him bail.

Judge Pat Siracusa made his decision after two days of sometimes wrenching testimony inside a Dade City, Florida, courtroom, saying prosecutors sufficiently made their case that Curtis Reeves should not be given the opportunity to leave custody.

The prosecution painted Reeves as a dangerous hothead who overreacted to a father’s texting during movie previews, taking a gun out and shooting him. Reeves’ lawyers said their client felt threatened by a much larger, younger man.

The next court hearing in the case is scheduled for March 12.

Hours earlier, those inside the same courtroom got a chance to see surveillance video captured on January 13 from inside the Grove 16 theater in the Tampa suburb of Wesley Chapel.

The jumpy, grainy video shows Reeves return to his seat at 1:26:19 p.m., according to the video’s time stamp. Six seconds later, Reeves appears to lean forward but only for a second.

At 1:26:30 p.m., the video stops — likely because the motion sensors weren’t activated, according to previous testimony in Reeves’ bail hearing this week — but it starts recording again five seconds later.

That’s when a hand extends in front of Reeves, from the seat where victim Chad Oulson was reportedly sitting, and appears to snatch something from Reeves — the defense has repeatedly said Oulson threw popcorn — and throws it into Reeves’ face.

Reeves’ right hand, the one Reeves told police he used to shoot Oulson, thrusts forward at 1:26:37 p.m. A strange dust falls in front of the surveillance video lens as theater patrons begin walking over to the area where Reeves remains seated. It’s the row behind where a mortally wounded Oulson is taking his last breaths.

Friday’s hearing began with police testimony and video of police interviews with Reeves and his wife immediately after the shooting.

During that interview, Reeves told police he had “reason to believe (Oulson) was going to kick my ass” after Reeves confronted the 43-year-old Navy veteran over his texting during the previews to “Lone Survivor.”

Reeves and his wife both told police that Oulson began using foul language, and Reeves left to talk to a theater manager. When he returned, Oulson stood up and turned around to confront Reeves, he said.

“I see that he’s very explosive, unnecessarily,” Reeves told police. “It scared the crap out of me.”

Oulson edged toward Reeves — and “he’s virtually on top of me” — and Reeves told him either “no, no, no” or “whoa, whoa, whoa,” he couldn’t remember which, he told the police interrogator.

“He hit me with something. I assume it was his fist,” Reeves told police. “I think he had a cell phone in his hand because I saw the blur of the screen. … My face went sideways. My glasses came partially off.”

Widow Nicole Oulson smirked and shook her head as Reeves described the situation in court.

Vivian Reeves backed much of her husband’s story during her police interview, spelling out the f-word for police as she described Chad Oulson’s language during the altercation. Asked, though, if she saw Chad Oulson strike Curtis Reeves, she replied no. Her husband told her he had been struck after shooting Chad Oulson, she said.

Reeves seemed to express regret in the police interviews immediately after the shooting. The retired Tampa police captain said if he had been 20 years younger, he and Oulson would have “wrestled it out,” but at 71, “I couldn’t take anybody, not anymore.”

He also told police that he longed for a second chance to deal with the situation, in which case he and his wife would have changed seats and he never would have drawn his gun.

“If I had to do it over again, it never would’ve happened. We would’ve moved, but you don’t get do-overs,” he told police. “I was defending myself. It doesn’t make it any easier for me to accept it, but that’s what I was doing.”

By Eliott C. McLaughlin. Marlena Baldacci and Greg Botelho

CNN’s Faith Karimi contributed to this report.

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