Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Autopsy report indicates movie theater shooting victim raised his hand before gun was fired

The bullet fired into the chest of the man who died inside a Wesley Chapel movie theater last month also grazed his right hand, indicating the victim might have raised it at the moment he was shot, according to the autopsy report released Wednesday.

Chad Oulson was shot inside the Grove Cobb 16 theater Jan. 13 in what authorities described as an argument over texting. Curtis Reeves Jr., a 71-year-old retired Tampa police captain, became agitated about the texting, authorities say, and shot Oulson as the argument escalated. Reeves is charged with second-degree murder.

"The paths of the two gunshot wounds correspond when the right hand/wrist is held in front of the thorax and likely represent the path of a single bullet," noted chief medical examiner Jon Thogmartin, whose staff examined the body of Oulson, 43. The report also mentions unburned powder and debris found on the back of Oulson's right hand.

The autopsy report appears to corroborate an enhanced surveillance video taken from inside auditorium 10, where the shooting took place. In the video, Reeves leans forward in his seat, then Oulson's hand extends across the chair, just barely entering the video clip, and dumps something in Reeves' lap. (Witnesses say they saw Oulson throw popcorn at Reeves.) Without pause, Reeves reaches his right hand forward and fires, the muzzle flash bursting outside the camera's frame.

Witnesses in the dimly lit theater said they heard words exchanged but did not see any physical contact between the two men. But Reeves told sheriff's detectives shortly after the shooting that something struck him in the face, knocking his glasses crooked. His legal team has said he acted in self defense.

Reeves' attorney, Richard Escobar, declined to comment on the report. However, he told reporters after a judge denied bail on Friday that the facts would ultimately exonerate his client and urged reporters to seek experts' opinion on the video.

"Don't rush to judgment," Escobar said last week.

Prosecutors did not return calls for comment.

The autopsy report also says Oulson was shot in the left side of his chest, with the bullet perforating the fourth left rib and piercing his heart. Examiners removed a yellow metal bullet jacket from the base of his heart and a lead fragment from his right lung.

Autopsy report indicates movie theater shooting victim raised his hand before gun was fired 02/12/14 [Last modified: Thursday, February 13, 2014 7:56am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. College basketball scandal dips into Tampa Bay


    Tuesday's national college basketball scandal has recruiting ties to Tampa Bay.

    In this March 15, 2012, file photo, San Diego State assistant coach Tony Bland, left, talks during NCAA college basketball practice in Columbus, Ohio. Bland was identified in court papers, and is among 10 people facing federal charges in Manhattan federal court, Tuesday in a wide probe of fraud and corruption in the NCAA, authorities said. [AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File]
  2. Datz to open in St. Petersburg, join the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art

    Food & Dining

    Now Datz news.

    Get it? Tuesday, Datz, the longtime line-out-the-door, oft-Instagrammed and -Yelped Tampa stalwart known for shock-and-awe sandwiches and oh-so-much bacon, announced it is coming to St. Petersburg.

    Lunch guest eat at Datz Deli at 2616 South MacDill Ave. in Tampa. Times files.
  3. Republican leader McConnell pulls the plug on latest Obamacare repeal effort

    WASHINGTON --- Sen. Mitch McConnell on Tuesday officially pulled the plug on the latest plan to repeal the health care law, telling senators they will not vote on the measure and effectively admitting defeat in the last-gasp drive to fulfill a core promise of President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. listens during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, after the Senate confirmed Betsy DeVos as education secretary. DeVos was approved by the narrowest of margins, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking a 50-50 tie in a historic vote. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) DCSA119
  4. Lightning's Brayden Point could be perfect fit alongside Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov

    Lightning Strikes

    SUNRISE — Brayden Point ended last season as the Lightning's No. 1 center, thrust into the role as a rookie due to injuries.

    Lightning center Brayden Point (21) advances the puck through the neutral zone during Friday's preseason game against the Nashville Predators. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
  5. For starters: Rays at Yankees, with Blake Snell starting, Wilson Ramos cashing in


    The Rays open their final road series of the season tonight at Yankee Stadium, which is also where they played their first of the season.

    LHP Blake Snell will be on the mound for the Rays, looking to continue his successful late-season run, in which he is 4-0, 2,57 over his last eight starts.

    Tonight marks Wilson Ramos' 55th start of the season.