© 2022 All Rights reserved WUSF
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Curtis Reeves says he had no choice in the Pasco theater killing

Curtis Reeves on the witness stand
Douglas R. Clifford
/
Tampa Bay Times via AP
Former Tampa police captain Curtis Reeves prepares to give testimony during his second-degree murder trial on Thursday, Feb 24, 2022, at the Robert D. Sumner Judicial Center in Dade City, Fla. Reeves is accused of shooting and killing Chad Oulson at a Wesley Chapel movie theater in January 2014.

Testifying on Thursday, Reeves said he feared for his life when he fatally shot Chad Oulson after he complained about Oulson's cell phone use.

A retired police SWAT commander testified he fatally shot a man in a movie theater eight years ago during an argument sparked by cellphone usage because he feared he was about to be attacked by a person he said “looked like a monster.”

Former Tampa police captain Curtis Reeves said Thursday he shot 43-year-old Chad Oulson in 2014 because the younger man was about to attack him after he complained about Oulsen’s cellphone use during previews.

Curtis Reeves on witness stand
Douglas R. Clifford
/
Tampa Bay Times via AP
Former Tampa police captain Curtis Reeves gives testimony while being questioned by defense attorney Richard Escobar during his second-degree murder trial on Thursday, Feb 24, 2022, at the Robert D. Sumner Judicial Center in Dade City, Fla. Reeves is accused of shooting and killing Chad Oulson at a Wesley Chapel movie theater in January 2014.

Surveillance video shows Oulson grabbing Reeves' popcorn and throwing it at him.

Reeves, now 79, said he believed he had no choice, saying his seated position and his poor health made it impossible to defend himself with his hands.

The trial has been delayed for years because of a lengthy Stand Your Ground changes in judges, and the pandemic.

In 2017, a judge denied Reeves’ motion to have the charges against him dismissed because of Stand Your Ground.

Reeves faces charges of second-degree murder and aggravated battery. Reeves was released from jail six months after the shooting and has been living under house arrest.

Reeves faces a life term if convicted.

Read more from the Associated Press

WUSF reporter Steve Newborn contributed to this report.

Nicole Oulsen seated in the gallery
Douglas R. Clifford
/
Tampa Bay Times via AP
Nicole Oulson, widow of Chad Oulson, is seated in the gallery moments before former Tampa police captain Curtis Reeves is called to give testimony in his defense during his second-degree murder trial on Thursday, Feb 24, 2022, at the Robert D. Sumner Judicial Center in Dade City, Fla. Reeves is accused of shooting and killing Chad Oulson at a Wesley Chapel movie theater in January 2014.