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An altercation in a movie theater almost three years ago left one man covered in popcorn and the other one dead. The media trumpeted it as a prime example of “concealed carry killers,” stoking fears that the increased numbers of Americans exercising their right to keep and bear arms in public would lead to more violent and deadly altercations. “Blood in the streets,” in other words. Now it looks like the trial is scheduled to hit anti-gun bete noir #2: stand your ground laws.

During a screening of “Lone Survivor” back in 2014 Chad Oulson refused to stop texting during the movie. Here in Austin that’s something the theaters take care of for us, but apparently in Florida you’re left to fend for yourself. Curtis Reeves was sitting nearby in the theater and was greatly annoyed by the incessant texting and demanded that it stop. In response, Oulson threw his popcorn at Mr. Reeves followed by his cell phone.

That’s when Reeves drew his firearm and shot Oulson to death. That ended the texting, but also ended the movie.

Anyone who carries a concealed weapon should be aware of the laws of the land. In Florida, an individual is justified in the use of deadly force for a number of valid reasons, one of which is if an attacker is committing a “forcible felony.” According to Florida law, a forcible felony can include many things one of which is “abuse of the elderly” which can be argued occurred when Oulson threw his cell phone at Reeves.

On first glance it appears that Reeves is covered — the target was committing a crime which is covered under the “use of deadly force” statute. The issue is whether deadly force was actually justified in that situation. According to the state of Florida the answer is no.

“The main argument that the state is going to make is, popcorn is not a deadly weapon. Therefore, he did not have the right to use deadly force,” legal analyst Jeff Swartz told CNN affiliate WFTS.

Naturally the media is trying to spin this as a “stand your ground” issue. CNN’s coverage of the hearing puts the “stand your ground” aspect prominently at the top of the article, but the fact of the matter is that “stand your ground” has little to do with what happened in the theater that day. The case hinges on Florida’s justified use of force statutes, a subset of which is the “stand your ground” law CNN has their panties torqued over.

Reeves and his lawyers are arguing that the moment Oulson threw his cell phone he became fair game for the use of deadly force. The state of Florida believes that no reasonable person would conclude that a thrown cell phone justifies armed self defense. The answer to that argument is now up to the court system.

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    • Yes so he could have carried in New Jersey or even Guam. And he had all those years of police training.

      Btw I don’t know that the thrown cell phone is the issue. The issue was the guy. If the guy is threatening him with physics violence , is capable of deadly force with no weapon and is already acting violently the justification might exist. I’m guessing this was an old armed man against a young fit man.

      • The deceased was round-about 40 and very active in outdoor sports, and clearly one of those type-a personality sorts. If given motive and opportunity he could have taken an old bum-hip senior like Reeves apart. His snatching Reeves’ popcorn and throwing it back at him (technically battery, robbery by sudden snatching, a felony, and felony elder abuse) demonstrates a serious lack of self-control.

        Seems to me that both men were being assholes.

        • “Seems to me that both men were being assholes.”

          That was my take away last year when this happened.

    • There is no doubt in my mind if this had been a cop shooting someone that through a cell phone at him/her it would be a non issue.
      First popcorn, then cell phone…what was next? I think this man should be glad he was able to protect himself from further injury or death.
      FBI stats report more people die from fist and feet than guns.

      • That FBI stat report is just for rifles, not all guns. Get your facts straight or you open yourself up to ridicule by anti’s.

    • An entire career in law enforcement, including attaining the rank of Captain and assignment as SWAT leader, and he couldn’t get his kill fill on the job?

      Or are you suggesting such desire didn’t kick in until this man, in his 60s, retired from the force?

  1. I hope they let him walk: small price to pay for the reduction of theater texting AND the removal of a rude doofus from the gene pool!

    Alex Hamilton and Aaron Burr removed duelling as a valuable incentive to good manners. This case could provide another such inducement if decided in favor of the defense.?

    • Go f**k yourself. He wasn’t texting during the movie, he was sending a text to check on his kid, during THE PREVIEWS. If you think that is a good reason to be shot to death, why don’t you eat a bag of d**ks and die in a fire.

      • If that last is a Deadpool reference, lol. If not, look carefully next time for the little devil emoticon that I put in to indicate a sick joke!

      • Nobody said texting during a movie, or even just during the previews when phone screens distract other theater goers and their use is requested to be discontinued, is sufficient justification for deadly force.

        The issue is whether the deceased’s violent reaction, by engaging in an argument and hurling popcorn and said cell phone, as a whole constitute sufficient justification for deadly force.

        You don’t get to truncate the events, recast other people’s points, then disagree with arguments nobody made and support your position with a partial storyline.

      • Well, if he exploded and through his popcorn on the man because he was asked/told to stop txting during the movie (even during previews), then through his cell phone, this man is not stable. He thought the rules did not apply to him; typical person that thinks the rules are different because they have, in their mind, a legitimate reason to do whatever.

        You txt during movies too, don’t you?

        • 2 men who both believed the rules didn’t apply to them.

          The laws of physics however do not discriminate.

  2. Clearly the old guy was ASSaulted. Hey I wanted to shoot the guy who brought his 5year old girl to John WickII. But I digress. You throw a cellphone at me I’ll react. Him being an ex-cop sure doesn’t help…

    • And those examples of modern parenting who take their young children to see The Avengers, or Deadpool.

      For heck’s sake, these movies are rated M – MA for a reason! They are not intended for children!

      • Yeah, Avengers along with Capt America, Iron Man, Thor- watched em all as a family marathon, our only issue was making sure to explain it is all pretend. Entire countries being destroyed would have concerned the six year old.

        PTSD and other themes, some adult humor, but nowhere near Rated R.

  3. (sarcasm=on)

    But Chad was a special snowflake who had a condition where he felt compelled to enrich the lives of others by providing the mind-numbing minutiae of every moment of his experiences.


    In reality nothing is that important. Turn off the phone or put it on silent (which is hardly rocket science, nuclear physics, or brain surgery). If it is that important, walk out for a few minutes and call the other person.

    • How about your family? Is your family important enough to check up on BEFORE the movie even started? Because that’s exactly what he was doing.

      • My family is important enough to check on before the previews begin…and before I focus on the popcorn. I believe the shooter was still employed as security for Busch Gardens in Tampa, though the memory is vague..

        If someone asks me to please stop texting, I might say “no.” I’m not going to start throwing things at them, especially not my cell phone: The PD could rightfully gather that in as evidence (even if I was not shot). Chad Oulson was a self-absorbed fool, completely unaware that he was in a public place requiring quiet in deference to others that may be cantankerous and armed.

        • You have no idea who Chad was. There is no scenario where killing him is acceptable, short of a direct threat to the mans life. And a bucket of popcorn isn’t exactly lethal. The old man started it, and he finished it. I hope he dies in prison.

        • Chuck, you keep claiming that this was just over a thrown bucket of popcorn. You leave out the cell phone thrown, too.

          That aside, you also FAIL to mention that the defender was seated in front of the attacker and that the popcorn in question belonged to the defender.

          That is, the attacker reached over the defender’s entire body, from above and behind, as he was seated in the row behind, grabbed the old man’s own popcorn from his lap, and threw it at him.

          That, pal, is not “just throwing popcorn.” That’s an over the body, full on attack, in a darkened theater, from behind, upon an elderly man, followed up by a second attack with a hard object. That would be terrifying for anyone.

          So how about you quit abbreviating the material facts of the case?

        • One would not be out of line believing that the snatched and thrown popcorn, and the thrown cellphone (two felonies in a row when committed against a senior) were a precursor to an imminent physical attack. Chad clearly had some serious rage on to even consider the actions he performed prior to getting shot.

      • What was he doing when he threw a solid block of glass metal and electronics at a senior citizen? The guy was a scumbag who got what he had coming.

      • My family is important enough to stay home and be with when they need checking on, not going to the movies and literally phoning in my alleged concern.

        Supposedly he was “checking on” his two year old daughter, texting the babysitter, because the child was teething. Awwww….him such sweety, weety daddy…..


        Are you aware that the attacker’s widow, in her civil lawsuit against the shooter, the theater, and the property owner, ADMITTED that her husband was on the phone to “waste time” before the movie started? Soooo…..we’re not just talking about a quick check-up text over teething, which there’s nothing you can do about from the theater and little you can do about at home, for that matter.

        That’s just YOU trying to portray this social misfit and elder abuser as a loving, kind, and gentle man pushed to the edge by some grumpy old man.

        That’s the same fact-fading scam that thug families pull when their little darlings get what they had coming. “He was just a gentle giant, turning his life around, always there for his younger siblings, he wouldn’t hurt a fly……”

        Face it: your boy was a rude, little pig and a bully who picked on the wrong little old man and got ventilated as a result. That’s why I say “Hey, man, nice shot!”

  4. Throw him in lockup for texting in a movie and refusing to stop…

    However, if someone threw popcorn, then a cell phone, I’d seriously consider drawing, as who knows what he’s going to throw next, a cell phone is already cross the line, what if he grabs a knife to throw next?

        • You have no duty to retreat to the lobby, certainly not under penalty of death.

          Just watch the video… the other guy’s behavior was disrespectful, but Reeves created the situation & would not let it go until he got what he wanted, an excuse to murder someone.

  5. If the shooter is indeed elderly the only way I see him successfully arguing this is that popcorn then the cellphone constituted a pattern of increasing aggression and violence so he was worried the next step was something worse and therefore feared for his safety or that of another person.

    That’s a hell of a stretch is my mind but given some of the court rulings recently covered on this site, maybe a judge will buy it. If he can show the guy was reaching for something else that he couldn’t see, that might do the trick seeing as cops shoot people for such behavior shockingly regularly.

    • Agree — it would be great to have video, but absent that, his best shot (!) is convincing the jury that anyone who’d throw a cell phone is obviously half loony to start with, and who knows what will be next. If someone threw his cell phone at me, under any circumstances, I’d wonder if he was off his rocker. Is he going to come over to get his phone and blame me for it being broken or missing? Generally I’d think he was a little bit teched or had too much of his favorite recreational drug, and it was time to get out of his proximity. Was the phone thrower maybe looking like he was ready to climb over the seats to come towards me? Shooting seems extreme, but throwing a cell phone sure isn’t normal behavior either.

      • I’m not a lawyer but if I was asked to represent this guy I’d go with what you said here but with a LEO twist.

        Not only is the dead guy’s behavior a complete overreaction, it’s also criminal assault and battery. It was dark and the man’s hands were not visible. Combine that with LE training, which my client fell back on, and under police ROE we have a righteous shoot because my client legitimately and reasonably feared that this man, who’s quite obviously unstable, was reaching for another weapon. That’s based on my client’s professional LE training, his LE experience and the totality of circumstances.

        If it would please the court I will happily parade witnesses before the bench to attest that not only is this standard training, it’s the only wise way to deal with such a situation. At this time I would like to enter into evidence [every case I could dig up] where an officer shot someone because he couldn’t see their hands and was either found not guilty in court, had charges dismissed or never had them filed.

        That’s how I would roll were I this guy’s attorney. Hell, it might even work.

      • “Agree — it would be great to have video, but absent that,…”

        There is *some* video of the actual incident. They are currently taking testimony as to whether SYG applies, check out the testimony from a cop who was in the audience, it’s at the end of this clip:

        • Even more proof, as I said earlier: idiot rager gets killed, LEO gets put in prison. Society is rid of them both, so how is this not a win-win?

          There are people who think that they can do anything without consequences. In Michigan we recently had a road rage incident where an older guy killed a younger guy who became aggressive and came up to his driver’s door at a stop light. The older guy shot and killed the younger guy. The younger guy’s wife was going on social media trying to drum up sympathy for her husband because he didn’t deserve to get killed just because he became personally aggressive with the older guy. I told her that it’s immaterial if the older guy gets convicted or not, her idiot husband won’t do anything stupid like that again. Because he’d dead.

          Stupid people seem to be under the illusion that someone can’t do something like shoot them for little reason because it’s against the law. Keep thinking that, until you assume room temperature. You never know who it is you are confronting. Little good it will do you to be the aggrieved party when you are laying on a cold slab in the morgue.

          Seriously, what kind of a-hole starts throwing things in a movie theater? What are you, in third grade?

          This former cop seemed to be operating under his old SOP that a cop could pretty much shoot anyone without repercussion. Now he’ll get to spend some quality time in prison with people he advocated imprisoning, including people who shouldn’t even be there. Good.

        • The one doing the antagonizing, ‘stirring the pot’, appears to be the cop who shot the guy in front of him.

          If the cop had a problem with him texting, why didn’t he just move instead of verbally berating and kicking the seat in front of him?

          The cop appears to have had a very big problem with someone who wasn’t ‘respecting his authority’, even though though the cop wasn’t in uniform.

          I don’t see how getting your popcorn grabbed and thrown back at you warrants lethal force here.

          The real damming testimony is the cop’s wife stating, immediately after the shooting “That was no cause to shoot anyone.” And then pointing at her and saying “You shut your fucking mouth and don’t say another word.”

          That’s going to be a big problem explaining away…

        • I think you are correct. The LEO is in for prison. But that doesn’t bring the idiot popcorn guy back to life.

          Life lesson: don’t lose your temper over small stuff. The popcorn idiot is pushing up daisies because he wanted to act like a child.

    • Pattern of increasing violence. Ok but what about speech. Specifically was this guy silent while he was throwing the cell phone ? Was the shooter moving backwards to avoid conflict. Was the movie texter saying things that a reasonable person would construe as a credible threat of violence ?

  6. Guy’s probably boned but it’s tough for me to trust the media based on the way they have completely misrepresented other altercations in the past.

    Hands up, don’t shoot, right media?

    • “That is a bingo!”

      The laughably named _mainstream_ media is going to continue their usual lying and misrepresentation of the facts to fit their progtard agenda.

      Nothing new to see here, folks. Move along.

  7. Hey Nick, Chad wasn’t texting during the movie. He was checking up on his family BEFORE the movie started. Please correct this mistake.

    • Who cares exactly when he was doing it? That’s entirely irrelevant.

      Being asked to stop texting and responding by throwing a temper tantrum and then objects at someone is completely overboard.

      I’m not saying his actions warranted lethal force but he was very clearly unstable and his reaction to being asked to stop using his phone, whether during the previews or not, were completely out of line.

      He sounds like someone looking for a fight over just about anything. Well, he found it.

      A side note: some people LOVE previews. It’s to the point they advertise websites where you can see more.

      • “He sounds like someone looking for a fight over just about anything.”

        That is my exact impression of the cop’s actions that night…

        • Most fights that go bad involve two idiots. I bet this was no exception. I wonder if they guy persisted when the gun was drawn or if the shooter just drew and shot without giving the guy a chance to back off.

    • He could have gone and texted from the lobby. But his texting didn’t get him killed, throwing his popcorn and phone did.

      If you think you can start something without repercussion, you aren’t very bright. You take your chances when your provoke somebody. Obviously the shooter didn’t expect a “shush” to warrant being attacked.

      • No, he dead because of an asshole cop and the police mentality of “I can kill anyone for any reason and it’s ok because I’m a cop”. Hopefully officer Tough Guy learns his lesson the hard way in the prison shower.

  8. it’s too bad for the retired LEO Reeves here. He’s probably going down for this one. I’m not here to judge, that will be up to a jury. However, it seems, excessive force was used by someone who was trained beyond the normal citizenry in it’s use. Kind of like road rage. Just because someone tosses a beer bottle out his car & hits yours, does that give you the right to chase him down, and kill him? I think not. Reeves probably could have left the situation, and got away from any danger he felt the popcorn posed to him. Too bad for him, but more bad for his victim.

  9. I think the FCC should license low power cell phone jammers at every cinema that wants one as that would fix the issue. Can’t afford to be out of contact? Wait for the movie to be out on Blu-Ray or available on line.

    • That won’t stop people. There’ll still be some jerk sitting there playing a game or something that doesn’t require internet/cell service.

      Besides, jamming cell phones would also hinder any emergency response if something happened, like a terrorist attack or health emergency. And the regulation banning them is pretty wide ranging, banning pretty much any wireless device that interferes with other devices.

  10. I can understand wanting to shoot somebody texting in a theater. I’m not saying it’s right, but I understand. And if somebody threw popcorn and a phone (what kind of a nitwit throws away his phone?) at me, well, that’s actually less annoying.

    But being annoyed is not the basis for a lawful shooting, in FL or anywhere else.

  11. IIRC (living in Miami) there was a very significant age, size, and strength disparity between the older shooter and the much younger and stronger deceased that might tilt any final verdict in this case. None of which, of course, can justify what actually occurred. DMD

    • The size, strength, and fragility issues go to whether the shooter had a reasonable fear of imminent death or great bodily injury. A 75 year old guy, who first killed someone with a handgun in Vietnam, and did so again a decade or two ago, said to me last summer that the older you get, the harder it is to protect yourself and your loved ones, and harder to keep what is yours. That latter DGU involved a big black dude with a gun to his head. He distracted the guy with one hand, and, looking like he was going for his wallet with his other hand, drew and fired instead, killing his assailant instantly. Helps to have shot maybe 50 rounds a day for the last 40 years. Which is why I am thankful for any help he can provide

  12. The Sword and Scale podcast has an episode that covers this incident in a fairly comprehensive manner. Some points:

    1) The deceased was a younger guy and certainly had a size advantage on the shooter.
    2) The deceased was texting his babysitter…BEFORE the movie started…as in before the message to “turn off your cellphones during the film.” The deceased was violating any rational social standard.
    3) The shooter was antagonistic about the deceased’s “bad behavior”. IIRC the shooter kicked the back of the deceased’s seat and threatened the deceased.
    4) The shooter drew his weapon and placed it on his thigh in preparation. IIRC he threatened something to the effect of shooving the deceased’s cell phone up his ass.

    This ex-cop antagonized a younger, larger man, who wasn’t even being rude by any stretch of the imagination and then verbally escalated the encounter. He drew his gun and continued to antagonize the deceased. Popcorn got tossed along with the cell phone…and the ex-cop gunned this young father down.

    I hope the shooter rots. Bad shoot. YMMV.

    • If what you say is true then he probably deserves to go down for it.

      On the other hand the dead guy’s kid is lucky too. Dad was obviously a complete retard to pick a fight with someone who had already drawn a weapon. Oh, he’s got a gun out… yes, let’s throw things at him until he shoots me, there’s a winning idea. That’s Darwin Award territory right there.

      If someone draws a weapon you’re a goddamn fool if you assume they won’t use it against you. The last thing you do is start flipping out in a way that enhances the chances of a fight you can’t win.

      There’s really only two possibilities here. Dad was a dumbass who knew the guy had a gun out and escalated the situation or he is a lesser dumbass who didn’t know the other guy had a gun but flew off the handle and started throwing things at someone for no real reason and got capped for it.

      Best case: the world is better off with both of them removed from society.

      • Dim movie theater. The shooter was seated. He drew the gun and kept it out of sight, resting it on his thigh. I think he admitted that in his interview with/police.

        I get the whole “play stupid games, win stupid prizes” analysis…but the shooter in this case was way out of bounds. He even clipped the deceased’s wife with a round.

        • An errant round proves nothing.

          A smaller guy may initiate a confrontation with a larger and stronger person who flies off the handle. That’s all I’m saying here.

          I’m quite well able to handle myself, much, much better than you average cop. I run into a reasonably fit guy who’s significantly larger than me and he goes apeshit and starts throwing things because I ask him to stop doing something I’m gonna leave.

          That said, if he pushes it too far I’m gonna fuck his shit up. The fact that one of the rounds I fired in self defense hit is baby-momma doesn’t matter as long as I can logically and legally justify firing it. I’m not criminally liable for anything I can justify as self-defense, though I amy be civilly liable for it.

          How far is too far is, at this point up to a jury or a judge to decide but if Mr. I Throw Things Like a Child went too far the guy who shot him is gonna walk.

    • Thank you for injecting some rational thought and truth into this discussion. A lot of people are making large assumptions without knowing any facts. All eyewitness accounts point to the shooter as the aggressor. He was spoiling for a fight, and he got what he wanted. He killed a father and a husband because he was checking on his kid before the movie even started. Anybody here who thinks they can paint Chad in a bad light for that is an idiot.

      • You are blinded by your Chad love. He could have stepped out to check on his child or family and not interrupted the previews. He also could have called and spoke with his dear family if they are so important to him as a father and a husband. Barring that he could have just said no and NOT throw popcorn or a cell phone at a cranky old man. He made his choices and now is dead because of them. Great husband and father he can be from six feet under. I guess he proved his point. He is an idiot regardless of how legal or illegal the actions of the shooter.

        Quit being a delicate snowflake and realize that there are multiple factors and sides to an issue so when you read others you don’t over-react and blindly miss aggravating circumstances.

        • Snowflake? Like that idiot old man who shoots people because of bad words, thrown cellphone and popcorn kernels? Poor old baby! Hope he runs into some real “uncomfortable” situations in the clink! HAHA!

  13. If the shooter is a retired LE Captain, he damn sure knew or should’ve known deadly force with a firearm is in no way shape or form a reasonable response available in the use of force continuum to counter an attack with hurled popcorn or cellphones. Not sure whether he fired out of anger or irrational fear, but any LEO can see this is a bad shoot and the jury will likely come back with a guilty verdict on Reeves.

    • I’m not trying to justify what the shooter did and quite frankly I don’t much care what happens to him.

      However, I’ll put it to you this way: If you get into an argument with a police officer on the street in a darkened area, regardless of who’s right and who’s wrong, what do you think is going to happen if you start throwing things at the cop? Are good things coming your way? I doubt it. So assuming you don’t know it’s a cop, would you assume that good things would be coming your way if you did it to someone else? If you do make that assumption then you need a dunce cap stapled to your head.

      Further, if your hands go out of the police officer’s sight what do you think is going to happen? You’re prolly gonna get shot. I’m not saying it’s right. I’m saying that’s the way it is. Unseen hands are assumed to be going for a concealed weapon of some type and lethal force is authorized at that point.

      I don’t pretend to know all the facts or how this will play out but, no matter how you cut it, Mr. Popcorn Thrower was asking for serious trouble and he got exactly what he was asking for.

  14. Unless the old asshole had a potentially-lethal corn allergy, this sounds like a very bad shoot, and he deserves punishment…

    • Naaa. They will find every way possible to let him off. Witness statements that are critical will be discredited. The victim will be vilified while the shooter glorified for defending himself and others from a savage and potentially escalating assault. Itz horrible!!!

      • Well, this will certainly be interesting to watch. The idiot rager won’t do that again, and a LEO may go to prison. Do we call this a win-win?

        • Win-win?
          A child will now grow up without his father. A woman is now a widow and a single mom. They will pay this life-long price because Daddy was a dick and was unlucky enough to get dicky with another dick who had a gun.

          Others in that theatre narrowly escaped the crossfire and will likely join the cause of gun control. The shooter will forever be a poster child for any group that wants to destroy the 2A.

          The shooter will go to prison and live at the expense of taxpayers. His family will have to come to terms with all of that.

          There is no winning here. There is only tragedy.

        • I disagree. Absolutely this is a win-win.

          Now a child will not have to grow up with a father who has absolutely zero self-control. He could not control himself in a movie theater, so now the kid won’t be forced to grow up in a dysfunctional home. Honestly, what self-respecting woman marries a d*ck like this?

          The LEO shooter will go to prison. Good! Now he will get to see what it is like. He was all anxious to send others to prison without a thought while he was active LEO. Now he will get a chance to think, which is something I think LEOs don’t do all that often.

  15. Going to a movie theatre today is a violation of the “stupid people, stupid places” rule. It only takes one a-hole to ruin the experience, and there’s always at least one in a group of 100. In this case there were two.

    It boggles my mind why civilized people still pay money to go to such places.

  16. I love “Florida Man”!
    He is a super hero of stupid
    Florida man is always jumping onto alligators, shooting pickups filled with Tannerite, etc.
    My local movie theater has a manager and a cop stationed at the entrance
    One word to them will have a texter removed if he refuses to stop texting
    If he throws popcorn he might get arrested
    I carry my gun into the theater but would not shoot in this situation

  17. Who thinks throwing of the popcorn followed by the phone was going to be the end of the assault?
    Should the old man have held out for the knife? The fight was on. The right guy won.

  18. as a CCW here in florida this incident should scare the shit out of everyone. No you cant fucking shoot somebody for an arguement of texting in a movie. We are not vigalanti wild west gun toters. We should be carrying to protect our families and ourselves deadly force. This piece of shit Reeves knew he had a gun puffed his chest with a “if a mother f’r would” type attitude looking to escalate things. He doesn’t have the right to police the movie theater, kick the chair of the guy, talk shit. etc…

    This type of incident is exactly the fodder the left needs to ban constitutional carry and ccw through the country. Dont defend something that’s not defense-able. He was wrong plain and simple. The guy didnt hit him, he threw popcorn at him. Boo who. If the guy was bigger you dont pick a fight with him in the first place just because you have a gun you move seats. Do you think Reeves would have acted that way without a gun? if the answer is yes then he was wrong.

    Did anybody watch the video?

    • Men who lived in the wild west didn’t even shoot people over something so stupid (like this).. because they were men. This is just an example of a grade-A idiot with a gun, that’s all.

  19. When is escalation the better choice? From the tale as told, I kinda want them both to lose, though not nearly that big(ly.)

    Maybe make them watch Twilight movies together for a week, while living on movie popcorn n curating a shipper subreddit via their cell phones. At least they’d be too dumb and stunned to cause trouble after that.

    Wait, “cruel and unusual” is unconstitutional. Nevermind.

  20. Common decentcy says that when the screen is lit in a theatre, you take a walk out to the lobby to use your phone. Turn off the sound and don’t reply otherwise. If you wouldn’t do it in church, don’t do it in a theatre.

    That does not excuse the gunplay – a slap upside the haid would be a great response.

  21. What is missed (except maybe by Andrew Branca over at Legal Insurrection) is that this had nothing to do with Stand Your Ground, which essentially eliminates the Retreat Doctrine from consideration in self defense shootings. It isn’t relevant because there was no real avenue of retreat readily available to the guy claiming self-defense. The confusion is that this is an immunity hearing, and immunity from criminal and civil liability, proved by a preponderance of the evidence, was enacted by the FL legislature in the same bill as repealed the Retreat Doctrine. Losing here just means that the guy, doesn’t get immunity, but instead, has to go to trial, where the state has the burden of disproving self defense beyond a reasonable doubt. In any case, Retreat Doctrine has become an outlier in the states, with most of them essentially repealing it. What most of those complaining about FL SYG probably are complaining about is actually the FL self defense immunity law. But it makes sense, and should be implemented nationwide, because, if the defendant can prove self defense by a preponderance of the evidence at a preliminary hearing, the state is not about to disprove it beyond a reasonable doubt at trial, and, thus trial would be purely punitive by the state in those situations. The goal was to protect those involved in obvious cases of self defense from spending months in jail and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars defending themselves, just because the prosecutor had it in for them (or for anyone using a gun to protect themselves).

    • I don’t know if I’ve ever come across someone who knew what they were talking about when terms like “Castle Doctrine,” “Stand Your Ground,” etc. who I didn’t go to law school with. You’re the first.

      I blame the incompetence of the media at large. They might choose to get it wrong if they understood it, but I don’t think they are capable of doing the research or comprehending the research.

  22. I’m not FL_Lawyer, but if they’re self-defense law is the old common law majority rule (on procedural steroids) with its standard exceptions, then this case should turn on whether or not the old man was the initial physical aggressor by kicking the other guys seat.

    A standard exception the the “no duty to retreat” law is that the initial aggressor in a physical fight has the duty to stop fighting and attempt to retreat if possible. The other standard exceptions are for those who have no right to be where they are and those engaged in criminal activity.

  23. The key moment in this incident was the thrown cellphone and the perceived escalation of violence and potential of bodily harm.

    1) Can the cellphone be considered a deadly projectile / assault?

    Perhaps on the specifics of the phone. Weight, edges, etc.

    Does the thrown cellphone warrant a bullet in response? I don’t think so.

    2) Was the theater dark and was the cellphone thrower still pressing an ongoing attack? After all, they were in close proximity to each other.

    Disparity of force applies, so I think it was reasonable to draw and issue commands.

    If Chad still pressed an attack after hearing commands and seeing a gun, I’m sure Reeves would be in the clear.

    This is one of those cases that is a classic case study of “when do you shoot?”

  24. Who gives a shit if he is a former cop or not. If what I’m seeing from the video is correct, then you have a guy who just had a bucket of popcorn snatched from his hands and thrown on his head (and maybe a cell phone too) by a jerk. And in response he pulls his piece and opens fire in a dark theater. If that is correct then the old geezer should go to prison, for life. Open and shut.

    If the argument is that because he threw something at you, he might go for a lethal weapon next, hur der der, then I’m justified in blowing his head off, well then fuck it, lets just move that line back a little further, ie. the guy on the subway was giving me the crazy eye, and we all know that the crazy eye is usually followed up by violence , so yeah officer, thats why I had to do put two in the chest and one to the head. To save the children.

    • Once you pose a threat, you get dealt with. I don’t like the outcome any more than you do but I am not going to make shit up to prove murder or self defense. Was the old man being assaulted? Regardless of items used in the assault, were they meant to hurt the man or threaten the man? Threat is threat and a fight is a fight. Words don’t hurt either but if someone says “I’m going to kill you” and then takes a step towards you, are you justified in defending yourself with lethal force? A case can be made.

      • Sure, but according to our social compact as members of a somewhat functioning society, force is always supposed to be proportionate. If someone throws a drink in my face at a bar and I respond by swiftly busting several rounds into their dome, I’m pretty sure that Manslaughter or 2nd degree Murder charges will be my rich reward. And I’m sure that no amount of claiming that “it could have been God knows what in that liquid, he could have been a terrorist throwing nerve agent at me, could be anything, etc etc.” would fly with the jury.

        The question is, “Would most people in our present society, not a Klingon Warrior society but our present one, reasonably speaking, perceive the use of swift deadly force to be the appropriate response to having popcorn and a plastic cell phone thrown at them?”

        In another similar scenario, if as a substitute teacher, a high school student throws an eraser and pencil at your head when you tell them to shut up, are you justified next in drawing your concealed handgun and shooting them in the middle of class? Do you think that the majority of society would find your action completely justifiable? Would you see it as justifiable? These should be considered as rhetorical questions.

        • “force is always supposed to be proportionate”

          That’s not true. Self defense only needs the reasonable thought that the other person was going to harm you. “Going to”. Not “did”.
          Everyone is hung up on the harmless popcorn or phone. You don’t defend yourself from something someone did. You defend yourself from what they are doing or you believe they are about to do.

        • Not to keep going back and forth but it applies to the portion of the law on where lethal force is permitted. AKA shooting somebody point blank in a movie theater.

          I suggest for your reading, Florida firearms law (volume 9) by Jon Gutmacher

      • “force is always supposed to be proportionate”…That’s not true. Self defense only needs the reasonable thought that the other person was going to harm you. “Going to”. Not “did”.

        Self defense yes, but lethal force is not justified in all cases of self-defense. I’m no lawyer, but I’m pretty sure if your girlfriend/boyfriend throws the remote at you, “self-defense” won’t cut it if you respond with a mag dump from your CZ-75.

        Everyone is hung up on the harmless popcorn or phone. You don’t defend yourself from something someone did. You defend yourself from what they are doing or you believe they are about to do.

        Again, I’m not a lawyer, but I doubt very much that the belief only corresponds to what you believe it is, rather than to what a “reasonable person” would believe would be the intent of the perpetrator. In this case, if you took a poll, I doubt very much that the mere fact that you were touched by a foreign object, maybe even incurring a bruise, that most people on the jury would respond in the affirmative that his life ought to have been swiftly extinguished.

    • There is a difference between bashing someone’s skull into the sidewalk and knocking over their popcorn. If you watch the video, the time from when the popcorn flies to the muzzle flash is a split second. Reeves was disrespected & when he returned to his seat, he was waiting for any excuse to commit murder. The other guy’s behavior didn’t help but this shooting was an execution, not self defense.

      • This was a classic “total stranger” confrontation. Young man had an option. Stop what he was doing. Change seats. Maybe even leave and get management. He did none of the above and now he’s dead.

        Right or wrong doesn’t really enter into it. This is America. These ‘total stranger” moments are fairly common and their outcome is headline news.

        Unless he was a total airhead the young man should have known he was in a dangerous spot. He elected to throw a tantrum and the end result was pretty predictable.

        • Your logic is beyond me, everything you just typed applies to the OLD man Reeves. If the younger guy was pissing him off so much he(Reeves) could have moved seats instead of confronting him, kicking his chair,etc…

          Why would the younger guy know he was in a dangerous spot. Whos expecting somebody to open fire in a crowed movie theater over texting and popcorn?

          He was waiting to prove a point at all costs. Now they are both F’d.

          I dont want to live somewhere when any confrontation can be gunplay. Thats not why we should be carrying.

        • actually jwm, its a classic example of when assholes collide.

          this was not a defensive shooting in any way, shape or form.

  25. As someone who had to sit through a concealed carry class in NYC, the one take home message for me was, the NYPD gets one “get-out-of-manslaughter-free-card”, as a regular citizen, you don’t. You’re held to much higher standards. Even if you get off criminally, your financial life and career is pretty much over. So think really hard if that dude needs to be put down. Remember, the shooting in this article happening in 2014. Shit is still dragging on. Inside your home or apartment of course is a different story.

  26. It would have been easier for reeves to justify throwing popcorn and/or soda and/or a cell phone at the guy since it would have been equal force. Considering Reeves advanced age his lawyers could argue that throwing A cell phone at Reeves carried a significant risk of breaking bones and therefore Reeves was at risk of serious bodily injury.


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