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Man Shot To Death For Texting During Movie 1431

An anonymous reader writes "The New York Times reports that an argument over texting ended in a cellphone user's death when a retired police officer in the audience shot him in a theater near Tampa, Florida on Monday. The report notes that 'cinema executives acknowledged during a trade conference last year that they debated whether to accommodate younger viewers by allowing text messages during some movies.'"
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Man Shot To Death For Texting During Movie

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  • Not "during movie" (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @12:19PM (#45951807)

    He was texting during the previews, which, unless things have gotten even worse, do not constitute "the movie". Get your headlines right.

  • by Freedom Bug ( 86180 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @12:21PM (#45951839) Homepage

    Note that the title is wrong -- he was shot for texting during the previews, not during the movie itself.

  • Dead (Score:4, Informative)

    by Hypotensive ( 2836435 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @12:23PM (#45951869)
    In English: shot dead. "Shot to death" implies a long and lingering shooting, with many small bullets that cause you to gradually lose your grasp on life.
  • by Bill_the_Engineer ( 772575 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @12:26PM (#45951923)

    Of course the summary is wrong and the trolls are already celebrating the shooter.

    1) The texter was not young.

    2) The movie had not started. It was during the previews.

    3) If you read the actual news story you'd learn that the texter was not sending a text at the time of the shooting. In fact the texter told the shooter that he was texting his daughter to check on her before the movie started. The shooter got his feelings hurt and walked out of the theater, got his gun and returned to murder the man and injure his wife who was standing next to him.

  • Re:Dead (Score:5, Informative)

    by GungaDan ( 195739 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @12:28PM (#45951955) Homepage

    Congratulations! You win the award for most incorrect obnoxious pedantry of the day. "Shot to death" is a perfectly acceptable phrasing.

  • Re:It's about time! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Bill_the_Engineer ( 772575 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @12:35PM (#45952099)
    If you would have taken the time to actually read the news you would have known that the shooter had to leave the theater to retrieve his gun from the car. It is no where in the realm of being self defense.
  • Re:It's about time! (Score:5, Informative)

    by clarkkent09 ( 1104833 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @12:37PM (#45952169)

    I read that he left the theater to report the guy who was texting, not necessarily to get his gun.

  • Re:Double bind (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @12:42PM (#45952235)

    The local reports state that the movie hadn't even started yet when this happened.

    They also say that it was in the middle of the previews, and that the shooter was a 71 year old man who was physically assaulted by the texter after the 71 year old had reported the texter to the theater management. If something were escalating to a physical altercation with someone 30 years younger than you, and you were a little old guy with a gun, would you take the beating, or would you shoot?

    http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/14/justice/florida-movie-theater-shooting/ [cnn.com]

  • by FilmedInNoir ( 1392323 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @12:42PM (#45952237)
    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/ex-police-officer-curtis-reeves-shoots-dead-chad-oulson-texting-cinema-1432197 [ibtimes.co.uk]
    This way you can decide guilt and innocence based solely on physical appearance like Reddit does.
  • by schwit1 ( 797399 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @12:45PM (#45952303)

    Regulation probably would not have helped. The shooter is a retired cop. Almost every jurisdiction with gun restrictions makes exceptions for active duty and retired cops.

  • Re:A Message (Score:4, Informative)

    by egcagrac0 ( 1410377 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @12:52PM (#45952439)

    Someone seems to have forgotten.

  • Re:It's about time! (Score:4, Informative)

    by demonlapin ( 527802 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @12:53PM (#45952465) Homepage Journal
    NRA? It's not the NRA who says that police should be allowed to carry guns but ordinary citizens shouldn't.
  • by Obfuscant ( 592200 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @01:11PM (#45952723)

    The shooter got his feelings hurt and walked out of the theater, got his gun ...

    The NYT articles says nothing like that. He left to find a manager but returned without one. It says nothing about him walking out to get his gun. It is most likely that he had it with him the whole time since he would have had to leave the theater to go to his car and pay to get back in again.

  • Re:It's about time! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Macgruder ( 127971 ) <chandies.william ... om minus painter> on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @01:13PM (#45952777)

    2 things - 1) It was reported that the texting itself occured during the preview trailers, not the movie itself. I've often done that myself, check e-mail and and such during previews, share the information, coordinate schedule with other people who may be attending the movie with us as well. I do agree that once the movie starts, then the phone needs to be put away and put on silent.

    2) Other outlets are now reporting that the argument was escalated by the shooting victim, with him yelling at the shooter for 'telling on him', then escalated it further into the physical realm. I suppose at that point I can see how the older man (71) was feeling physically threatened by the younger (43) and felt he had to take immediate action to protect himself.

    I'm not saying that's exactly what happened here. I am pointing out that information is still being developed and details are still coming out. It's forlorn hope I admit, but I'd like to think that we could all dial down the outrage until all the facts are learned, then castigate the guilty party(ies) and not just vent uncontrollably based on our own immediate perceptions.

  • Re:It's about time! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kilo Kilo ( 2837521 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @01:20PM (#45952921)
    It applies in the U.S. as well. It might vary from state to state, but many laws say that the emergency vehicle must come to a complete stop if they do not have the right of way. A lot of FD's (that I've seen) have started training their drivers to be very cautious and drive slower, since there's a tanker rollover accident every other week now. Also, the newest fire trucks have their speeds governed based on their weight.

    The cops, (again only the ones I've seen) have a habit of driving as fast as possible and don't like using their sirens, even when blowing through an intersection. This is based on my experiences driving fire trucks and ambulances.

  • by DaveV1.0 ( 203135 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @01:31PM (#45953083) Journal
    Living in the area and having been to that particular theater and having watched this unfold locally, I would like you to provide a link to a reputable news source that states that. Every news source I have seen states Reeves either left the theater to talk to a manager or simply left the theater and came back a short time later. And, in all cases, Oulson confronts Reeves about Reeves possibly reporting him to the management.
  • by DaveV1.0 ( 203135 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @01:47PM (#45953369) Journal
    I live in the area and have been watching this unfold in the local news. I am amazed at the comments coming from users who are apparently basing their comments on this one report and their preconceived assumptions.

    Let's have some facts:
    • The shooter, Reeves, is 71. The victim, Oulson, was 43. Oulson's wife is 33.
    • Reeves left the theater for a short time. There are no reports locally that he went to retrieve his gun. There are reports that he went to get a manager.
    • Once Reeves returned, he was confronted by Oulson as to whether Reeves reported Oulson to the manager. It was at this time that a physical altercation ensued and Oulson was shot.
    • All reports I have seen say a bag of popcorn was thrown. Some reports seem to indicate that Oulson threw the bag of popcorn at Reeves.
    • Reeves shot once, hitting Oulson in the chest. Oulson's wife was shot in the hand because her hand was between the gun and Ouslon's chest.

    There is a very recent article [tbo.com] about Reeve's appearance in court and what

  • Re:Only in America (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @01:54PM (#45953497)

    Yeah Ban on Guns has helped your country so much

    New data out from the UK, where guns are banned, shows gun crime has soared by 35 percent.

    The Government's latest crime figures were condemned as "truly terrible" by the Tories today as it emerged that gun crime in England and Wales soared by 35% last year.

    Criminals used handguns in 46% more offences, Home Office statistics revealed.

    Firearms were used in 9,974 recorded crimes in the 12 months to last April, up from 7,362.

    It was the fourth consecutive year to see a rise and there were more than 2,200 more gun crimes last year than the previous peak in 1993.

    Figures showed the number of crimes involving handguns had more than doubled since the post-Dunblane massacre ban on the weapons, from 2,636 in 1997-1998 to 5,871.

    Unadjusted figures showed overall recorded crime in the 12 months to last September rose 9.3%, but the Home Office stressed that new procedures had skewed the figures.

    Shadow home secretary Oliver Letwin said: "These figures are truly terrible.

    "Despite the street crime initiative, robbery is massively up. So are gun-related crimes, domestic burglary, retail burglary, and drug offenses.

    "The only word for this is failure: the Government's response of knee-jerk reactions, gimmicks and initiatives is not working and confused signals on sentences for burglary will not help either.

    "The figures will continue to be dreadful until the Government produces a coherent long term strategy to attack crime at its roots and get police visibly back on our streets."

    Gun crime would not be cracked until gangs were broken up and the streets "reclaimed for the honest citizen by proper neighborhood policing", he added.

  • Re:Double bind (Score:2, Informative)

    by DexterIsADog ( 2954149 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @01:55PM (#45953509)

    It was a retired cop.

    And I do wonder why people would carry a gun when going to the movies.

    Aurora, Colorado. If there had been one armed ex cop in the theater, probably less than 12 people would have died.

    Oh, that would have been sweet. Let's posit *3* armed ex cops in the theater, ranging from 55 to 72 years old.

    The slaughter from mistaken identity of the shooter and the crossfire would have been IMMENSE. Probably many more people dead.

    If you think cops are good shots, you're not paying attention. Here, read about these sharpshooters: http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2013/09/robert-farago/new-york-city-cops-shoot-innocent-bystanders/ [thetruthaboutguns.com]

    And if you go there, don't miss this link in the story to another incident: "9 out of 16 Rounds Fired by New York City Cops May Have Hit Civilians".

  • by PortHaven ( 242123 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @01:55PM (#45953515) Homepage

    The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) is a United States federal law, enacted in 2004, that allows two classes of persons—the "qualified law enforcement officer" and the "qualified retired law enforcement officer"—to carry a concealed firearm in any jurisdiction in the United States, regardless of state or local laws, with certain exceptions.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_Enforcement_Officers_Safety_Act [wikipedia.org]

    They are the American Nobility...

  • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @02:19PM (#45954007)

    You're missing the part where the "threatened" 71 year old left the theater, went to his car, retrieved the gun and then came back and shot the 43 year old. At what point was a beatdown by the 43 year old going on there?

    Maybe you are not from the U.S., and you believe "left the theater" means "left the building" rather than "left the room in which the movie was being projected to talk to the management in the massive lobby". In the U.S., a movie complex is a huge thing, and "theater" describes the room with the screen in it, not the building containing the room with the screen in it. He didn't leave the building to get his gun, he had a concealed carry permit, and the gun was on him the entire time.

    You really need to read more than one biases source for the story:
    http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/national/curtis-reeves-set-to-make-first-court-appearance-after-florida-theater-shooting [abc15.com]

    "As a male moviegoer texted, the man seated behind him objected, and asked the texter to put his phone away.
    They argued several times, according to police and witnesses, and the man who was texting watched as the other man walked out of the theater. Curtis Reeves, a retired police officer, apparently went seeking a theater employee to complain about the texting, police said." ...
    The man who had been texting, Chad Oulson, got up and turned to Reeves to ask him if he had gone to tell on him for his texting. Oulson reportedly said, in effect: I was just sending a message to my young daughter.
    Voices were raised. Popcorn was thrown."

    Assault, with implied threat of battery.

    "And then came something unimaginable -- except maybe in a movie. A gunshot.

    Not that unimaginable. This is just sensationalist editorializing on the part of ABC.

    The shot went through the wife's hand, which is how she sustained her injury. That places her hand on Oulson's chest, which is typical if one is restraining someone, and atypical behavior for the wife, unless Oulson had exhibited similar behavior in the past.

    If Reeves were a crazed nut job, he would have not sat and removed his hands from the weapon and waited for the police.

  • Re:Double bind (Score:4, Informative)

    by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @02:39PM (#45954333)

    To be fair, NYC cops are probably the worst in the nation, if not the entire world, for shooting accuracy. The reason for this is that they have specially-made guns from Glock, which have been modified to have 12-pound trigger pulls to match the revolvers they used to carry many years ago. This of course hugely affects shooting accuracy under duress, leading to suspects not being shot, and bystanders catching the bullets instead. The NYPD refuses to change this policy even after it's come to light after the incidents you cited.

  • Re:Double bind (Score:2, Informative)

    by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @03:02PM (#45954837)

    In this case, had there been one less armed ex cop in the theater, there would be one less dead person.

    Except that study after study shows that in places where there are more concealed carry permits are places where there are fewer murders (as well as just less violent crime in general, especially in public settings). In broad terms, retired cops carrying in public is a net benefit. Regardless of how this particular altercation turned out.

  • by gerardrj ( 207690 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @03:06PM (#45954901) Journal

    I just don't understand how the shooter thought that discharging a firearm inside a crowded movie theater was in any way going to aid in his effort to quietly watch the previews and later feature presentation.
    In what possible way was shooting another patron NOT going to stop the projection, evacuate the theater and end up with the shooter at least detained if not arrested and in jail for the next few hours?

    Did he really think: "Well, if I just shoot this one guy then we can get on with the rest of the film?

    There must be some mental instability lurking in there somewhere: anger/rage issues, delusions, drug use, etc.

  • He clearly was not carrying legally.... The movie theater has a no weapons permitted policy.

    Close but no cigar...

    In Florida, "no weapons" signs do not carry the weight of law. While he may have broken private property RULES he did not violate LAW.

    Now if he was found ahead of time with a gun by staff and asked to leave (the most they can do) THEN he would be guilty of criminal trespass.

  • by aepervius ( 535155 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @04:06PM (#45956061)
    Look I have seen *plenty* of situation where one person (sibling, friend, S.O., fatehr/son) put the hand over the arm, the chest or whatever. Those are gesture to *calm* down the person, and are in no way shape or form a restraint against a violent gesture to come. That youa re trying to use it as a justification to fear immeninent violence says more about you , and your *utter inability* to analyze a situation , than it says anything about the victim. You are the poster child on who should not be allowed to have a gun, just by the plain fact they can be misinterpreting normal social situation as imminent violence.
  • Re: It's about time! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @04:18PM (#45956227)

    Except that the error rate for CWP firing is about 2% compared to about 14% for police...so your hypothetical, while terrifying, isn't how it actually happens...like ever.

  • Re:Double bind (Score:5, Informative)

    by gmhowell ( 26755 ) <gmhowell@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:03PM (#45961009) Homepage Journal

    Shooting for legs and arms and shoulders and whatnot is much easier on TV than IRL, and is NOT something that 99.9% of LEO, military, etc. are trained for.

The best defense against logic is ignorance.