Suspected shooter is retired TPD captain, deputies say

WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. - More information was revealed late Monday about a man deputies say shot another moviegoer during an argument over texting before a movie at a Wesley Chapel theater.

Curtis Reeves, Jr., 71, retired from the Tampa Police Department in 1993 as a captain, according to Tampa police. Reeves was instrumental in establishing the department's first Tactical Response Team, police said. His son, Mathew Reeves, is now a Tampa police officer and has been with the department since 2003.

Police said Monday that Reeves' son, Mathew, has earned many accolades within the department including nine letters of appreciation and one Excellent Duty Award.

After retiring from the police department, Curtis Reeves worked at Busch Gardens until 2005 as the Director of Security, according to Busch Gardens Tampa, but no further information was available about his employment with the park.

Reeves moved to Hernando County several years ago where he served as a board member for the Hernando County Crimestoppers program, but he is no longer active with the organization. The ABC Action News I-Team also discovered Reeves was a hunter, with hunting licenses in Ohio and Georgia dating back to 2001.

Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said Reeves and his wife were sitting behind Chad Oulson and his wife Nicole in the Cobb CineBistro movie theater when Reeves asked Oulson to stop texting before the movie. The argument escalated and that's when Reeves pulled out a handgun and shot Chad Oulson in the chest, according to Nocco. Oulson's wife tried to shield her husband from the shot, but the bullet went through her hand. 

Chad Oulson, 43, died shortly after and his wife was treated for her hand injury.

"I just can't imagine," said Elnora Brown. "I can't imagine what happened that he would do that."

Brown has been a family friend of Reeves for the past 45 years. She described him as a good Christian man and a loving grandfather. 

"I thought it just can't be. He's just not that kind of person," Brown said. 

The sentiment echoed down the Brooksville street where Reeves and his family has lived for years. 

"Curtis is a good guy. He's always been very nice to my wife, myself, "said Reeves's next door neighbor Bill Costas. "Personally, I'm very shocked."

"You just never know what's going to happen anymore. The world is getting more and more evil." said neighbor Joann Spence.

Reeves is charged with 2nd degree murder. He's being held at the Land O' Lakes Detention Center.

More stories:

Print this article Back to Top