Curtis Reeves told investigators he felt 'threatened' before fatal movie theater shooting

Feb. 16 (UPI) -- A homicide detective played a recording of an interview he conducted with retried Florida police officer Curtis Reeves on Wednesday during the latter's murder trial for shooting another patron at a movie theater in 2014.

Allen Proctor, who was a homicide detective in the major crimes unit with the Pasco County Sheriff's Office during the time of the shooting, presented a CD containing the original audio of the interview in which Curtis Reeves, 79, described his interpretation of the events that led up to the fatal shooting of Chad Oulson and injury of his wife, Nicole Oulson.


Curtis Reeves faces charges of second-degree murder and aggravated battery. Police say Curtis Reeves complained to theater management that Chad Oulson was using his cellphone in the theater before coming back to his seat and engaging in an argument with the Oulsons. Curtis Reeves then pulled out a .380 semiautomatic pistol and opened fire, killing Chad Oulson and injuring Nicole Oulson.


In the interview, Reeves said Chad Oulson was yelling swearing and acting threateningly.

During the altercation, Curtis Reeves said Chad Oulson stood up, climbed over the chair and was "virtually on top" of him and then proceeded to hit him.

Curtis Reeves repeatedly said he felt "scared" or "threatened" and said if he "wasn't afraid of getting hurt or beaten up, I would have never pulled the pistol."

"If I had to do it over again, it would have never happened," Curtis Reeves said.

When detectives asked in the interview if it was worth taking Chad Oulson's life, Curtis Reeves' responded, "I would like to say no, I would hope the answer to that question would be no, but unfortunately it's a yes."

In the recording, detectives said they interviewed multiple witnesses including Curtis Reeves' wife, Vivian Reeves, who said she never saw a punch thrown and that Curtis Reeves' glasses were not knocked off his face.

Additional testimony Wednesday focused on Curtis Reeves' statements at the scene that he felt something in his left eye after he was struck by a cellphone or some other object allegedly thrown by Chad Oulson.

Craig Dejonge of Pasco County Fire Rescue testified he was tasked with taking care of Curtis Reeves who was handcuffed in a patrol car after the shooting and did not see any redness, foreign objects or lacerations in his eye after a visual observation.


Dejonge said he used sterile water to flush Curtis Reeves' eye two or three times but did not check his eye a second time and did not have special equipment to examine his eye.

Susan Miller, the Pasco Sheriff's Office forensic science investigator, said she processed Curtis Reeves after the shooting during which she took photos, collected clothes and shoes as evidence and got a mouth swab. She also said she photographed Curtis Reeves' left eye area because she thought it looked red, adding she made the observation herself and no one else called her attention to his eye.

Pasco Sheriff's Office deputy Todd Koenig told jurors that Curtis Reeves' eye looked normal when he began conducting an interview with him in the squad car after the shooting but began to appear read as he rubbed his eye throughout the interview.

District 6 medical examiner Dr. Jon Thogmartin testified that a combination of bullet wounds sustained by both Chad Oulson and Nicole Oulson and gun powder marks on both made it "kind of obvious what caused his death."

Thogmartin said a bullet traveled through Chad Oulson's skin, knicked his fourth rib and went through his heart, but did not exit his body. He said the same bullet traveled through Nicole Oulson's left ring finger and grazed her pinky finger.


When shown photos of Curtis Reeves' eye, Thogmartin said he saw no visible evidence of injury but said on cross-examination that using a photo to make a determination about an injury is never ideal.

"I have no idea," he said.

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