Widow of man killed in movie theater talks to 'Good Morning America'

Published Jan. 24, 2014

The widow of a man killed last week in a Wesley Chapel movie theater shooting said Thursday on national TV that she hopes the retired Tampa police captain accused of her husband's murder gets life in prison.

Justice for Curtis Reeves Jr. is "to stay behind bars for the rest of his life," Nicole Oulson told Robin Roberts during an interview on ABC's Good Morning America. "He brought an unfair life sentence to me to have to raise my daughter alone, to have to live without the love of my life, for my daughter to grow up without her daddy by her side for graduation and marriage.

"It was so unnecessary and for no reason. I want him behind bars and to be punished for his senseless act."

Oulson, 33, who broke down in tears during a news conference Wednesday in her attorney's Tampa law office, remained composed and even joked a little during her interview with Roberts. Sitting beside her was her attorney, TJ Grimaldi.

She said she and her husband, who worked as the finance manager at Sky Powersports in New Port Richey, got a rare day off together and both wanted to see a matinee of Lone Survivor.

"Usually I'm dragging him to a chick flick," she said.

The pair, who arrived early at the Cobb Grove 16, wanted to check on their 22-month-old daughter, who was with a caregiver. So Chad Oulson, 43, checked his phone for messages during the previews.

Nicole Oulson said she and Chad always observed movie theater etiquette.

"We're both very respectful when the movie is on, that we put our phones away. So he took a couple of seconds just to check the phone to make sure there were no messages about our daughter," Oulson said.

She estimated the whole encounter with Reeves, who authorities say pulled a gun from his pocket and fired once, lasted 30 seconds.

"In the blink of an eye, my world was shattered," said Nicole Oulson, whose finger was injured when she put her left hand in front of her husband.

Reeves' attorneys have said their client felt threatened and that Oulson threw "an unknown object, dark in color" at Reeves. Witnesses told authorities that Oulson threw popcorn at Reeves.

Grimaldi, who was guarded in his remarks due to the ongoing investigation, said that's irrelevant.

"It doesn't matter if it was popcorn, if it was Twizzlers, if it was a hot cup of coffee," he said. "There is absolutely no reason that this should have escalated to the level that it did, especially as quickly as it did."

Nicole Oulson said her husband gave Reeves no reason to feel threatened.

"It was a couple of words," she said. "No threats. Nothing."

Grimaldi said Reeves, who also worked as a security director for Busch Gardens, should have known how to keep conflicts from escalating.

Instead, Grimaldi said, "he was the aggressor and he took it to another level."

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Nicole Oulson said her finger was healing, but "it's the pain in my heart that's going to take a long time, if ever, to get over."

She described Chad Oulson as "outgoing" and "friendly," the kind of guy who would leave to get takeout food and become friends for life with someone he spent just a few minutes chatting with.

She said her daughter, Alexis, is doing all right, thanks to her young age. But she will miss the nightly ritual of her father tucking her in.

"He would say, 'You make me so happy. Daddy so happy,' Lexy would say. 'Me happy too, Daddy. Lexy happy, too.' "

She thanked everyone who had donated to the trust fund set up for the family.

"It's been amazing, truly amazing. It's unbelievable."