Could FL Theater Killing Over Texting Be New “Stand Your Ground” Case?


Curtis Reeves, 71, the retired police captain who allegedly shot and killed a man who was texting in a movie theater near Tampa on Monday, will remain in jail after a judge denied a bond request, reports the Christian Science Monitor. Reeves was charged with second-degree murder after Pasco County, Fl., officials rejected the notion that the shooting of Chad Oulson, 43, was justified under the state's hotly-debated “stand your ground” law, which allows armed people to shoot and kill someone in self-defense at the first hint of serious danger.

There’s a debate in Florida about whether Reeves may be able to legally claim that he was justified in shooting Oulson, given Reeves' advanced age and his training as a police officer. “Elderly people are a little bit more vulnerable than regular adults, so what may give a younger person a black eye could mean a cracked skull for a septuagenarian – that's certainly a factor that may be figured in,” says Bob Dekle, a former prosecutor now a lecturer at the University of Florida law school. After Reeves confronted Oulson about his use of a cell phone to send text messages during the movie previews, an argument escalated. Witnesses say that when Oulson threw a bag of popcorn at Reeves, the elder man grabbed his .380 semi-automatic pistol out of a pants pocket and fired. He told police later that he was “in fear of being attacked.” It's legal in Florida to have a concealed gun in a movie theater, and retired police officers don't need a special license to carry a gun as long as their certification is current.

Comments are closed.