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Police: Man shot dead in row over texting in movie theater

A retired policeman in Florida is accused of shooting a man before an afternoon movie started because the man was texting and an argument ensued.

The movie theater where it happened. WTSP-TV screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

It was just an afternoon at the movies in Wesley Chapel, Fla. The movie was "Lone Survivor."

It ended, police say, with a retired police officer shooting dead a man with whom he'd been having an argument. The argument was about texting.

As CNN reports, Curtis Reeves from Tampa is accused of shooting Chad Oulson.

Police say that Oulson had been texting during the movie previews.

In a press conference reported by WTSP-TV, Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco said that the victim was seated in front of the shooter. He said: "During the altercation, the suspect decided to pull out a .380."

CNN now says that Oulson was at the movie theater with his wife, Nicole. She also was shot, but is said not to be seriously injured.

WFLA News Channel 8

An eyewitness, former Vietnam vet Charles Cummings, said that Oulson told Reeves that he was texting his daughter.

The eyewitness also said that some popcorn was thrown.

That something as extreme as this should happen over texting in a movie theater is unconscionable.

It will inevitably also incite the always emotive debate about the role of guns in American society. Those against any form of control will insist that people, not guns, kill people. Those for will insist that if a gun hadn't been present, it's likely that no one would have died.

In another part of the press conference reported by WFLA-TV Sheriff Nocco said: "Anybody, over a cell phone, over somebody texting, to take their's ridiculous."

Cummings told WFLA-TV: "I can't believe people would bring a pistol, a gun to a movie. I can't believe they would argue and fight and shoot one another over popcorn, or even a cell phone."

WTSP reported that this particular movie theater, the Cobb Grove 16, had recently instituted a no-guns policy.