In court testimony now, Curtis Reeves described the altercation in January 2014 that ended with his fatally shooting another moviegoer more than texting, calling it at a single point a "life-or-death struggle."
Reeves, 74, a former police captain and former amusement park safety director, is accused of shooting and killing 43-year-old Chad Oulson on Jan. 13, 2014, in Pasco County, Florida, ahead of a showing of "Lone Survivor," police mentioned.
"At that point, it was his life or mine," Reeves testified, when asked by the defense why he shot Oulson that day.
If Circuit Court Judge Susan Barthle guidelines in favor of Reeves, he will acquire immunity from prosecution and will leave the court a cost-free man, with no criminal murder charges, below Florida's "stand your ground" law.
Really should she choose Reeves did not meet the law's criteria during the encounter with Oulson, he will proceed at a later date to a criminal trial, exactly where he could claim self-defense but could not use protection beneath the "stand your ground" law.
Prosecutors say Reeves provoked the confrontation, The Linked Press reported — which would exclude him from protection beneath the law.
Ahead of the shooting, Reeves complained about Oulson's use of his phone to film theater workers, authorities mentioned at the time. When Reeves returned to the theater, the argument escalated.
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Witnesses told police that Oulson threw a container of popcorn at Reeves before getting shot, police stated. Oulson's wife, Nicole Oulson, was also shot, in the hand. She told ABC News in 2014 that her husband was texting their babysitter, who was watching their young daughter.
Reeves testified now that he and his wife had been seated behind the Oulsons. In the course of previews ahead of the film, Reeves said, he waited 15 seconds to 30 seconds just before asking Chad Oulson to place away his cellphone. Reeves stated Oulson responded with "Eff off or get the eff out of my face."
Reeves said he saw Nicole Oulson attain more than and speak to Chad Oulson, so he sat back to see what would happen. When the cellphone remained out, Reeves testified, he went to speak to theater management. He mentioned when he returned to the theater, Chad Oulson gave him a "stare." Reeves mentioned that he noticed that Oulson did not have his telephone out, so Reeves apologized in what he known as a "goodwill gesture."
"I said, 'You're not on your phone. Sorry I involved theater management,'" Reeves mentioned.
As he was sitting down, even though, Reeves stated, Oulson stood up rapidly, turned about and "was just getting loud."
"When I looked up, he was coming over the seat at me, across the front of exactly where my wife was ... and I was hit in the face," Reeves mentioned.
Reeves said Oulson hit him over his left eye, knocking his glasses to the side of his head.
"Anything was blurry," Reeves mentioned. "I was kind of dazed. I was disoriented. I was attempting to get my believed processes back collectively as to what happened, since it was so unexpected."
Reeves mentioned he could still hear Oulson yelling, applying profanity and saying that he was texting his daughter. Reeves said he attempted to get out of his seat to stand up but could not since he was nonetheless holding on to a container of popcorn. He mentioned he attempted to lean back in his seat to make distance between him and Oulson but there was a wall behind his row of seats.
Reeves stated he could see Nicole Oulson attempting to hold back her husband.
"I understand I am trapped," Reeves mentioned. "I can't get up. I can not get out. He's right in front of me. And he's trying to come more than the chairs."
Reeves mentioned that at some point he reached for his .380 semiautomatic handgun, which was in his pants pocket.
"He was suddenly correct in front of me ... hunting down at me, and he was yelling," Reeves stated. "He was reaching for me."
"There is a issue where you see somebody having prepared to set up and to punch you, and he was having ready to punch me, and I perceived that at some point ... That is when the pistol came out," he stated.
Asked by defense lawyer Richard Escobar what he did with the pistol, Reeves mentioned, "I shot him."
Asked irrespective of whether he wanted to shoot Chad Oulson, Reeves mentioned, "Certainly not."
When Escobar asked him irrespective of whether he thought Oulson would hurt him, Reeves mentioned, "No question about it."
He spent the very first two hours of his testimony nowadays chronicling his practically 27 years of knowledge in law enforcement as properly as his later operate in private security.
Reeves testified that he served a number of roles with the Tampa Police Division in Florida. He started as a patrolman ahead of being promoted to a detective and later a sergeant. He produced and created a SWAT group for the division, and by the early 1980s rose to the rank of captain.
He mentioned he became a plan coordinator for the division and subsequently taught two to three classes at the police academy for the reason that of his extensive training in firearms. In 1988 he was diagnosed with cancer and, he said, was worried that he wouldn't be in a position to return to function.
Soon after surgery and radiation remedy, he was capable to return to the division, exactly where he took more than the vice-narcotics division. In 1993, he retired. He then took over as the director of security at Busch Gardens, a Tampa amusement park, where, he said, his focus was much less on law enforcement and a lot more on public relations and keeping the guests delighted.
His lawyer spent a portion of the time showing the a variety of certificates acquired by Reeves, like one from the FBI education school for powerful communication and one particular from the National Rifle Association for teaching handgun security to the public.
Reeves was initially denied bond, but he was freed in July 2014 following spending six months in a Pasco County jail and posting $150,000 bail, The Tampa Bay Times reported. He has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, claiming self-defense.
ABC News staff contributed to story.
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