300 mourn Fla. man killed in movie texting dispute

Published On: Jan 19 2014 08:54:07 AM EST
Updated On: Jan 19 2014 06:56:45 PM EST
Chad Oulson

Chad Oulson

LAND O'LAKES, Fla. -

A Tampa Bay-area man shot and killed during a dispute over texting at a movie theater is being remembered as a family man and fun-loving friend.

More than 300 mourners attended the funeral Saturday for Chad Oulson, requiring ushers to bring out folding chairs and open the choir loft at the Land O'Lakes Church of God.

The parent company of the Wesley Chapel movie theater where Oulson was shot Monday sent an arrangement of white lilies to the church for the funeral.

"The world lost a great guy," said neighbor Saverio Mongelli. "He was funny, respectful, energetic about life."

Oulson's wife was shot in the hand during the dispute at the Pasco County theater. She did not speak at the funeral, but she hugged mourners with her left hand heavily bandaged.

In a statement last week, Nicole Oulson's lawyers said she was "grieving the death of her husband" and comforting the couple's 22-month-old daughter.

Retired police officer Curtis Reeves has been charged with second-degree murder and held without bail in the shooting.

Pasco County Sheriff's officials say Reeves initially asked Oulson to stop texting. Friends have said Oulson was texting his daughter's caregiver.

According to a sheriff's office report, Reeves spoke to Oulson during the movie previews, then got up and informed management. When Reeves returned to his seat "additional words were exchanged" and Oulson threw a bag of popcorn at Reeves.

Reeves told investigators that Oulson struck him in the face with an unknown object, and that's when he removed a gun from his pants pocket. The report said Reeves fired the gun and struck Oulson once in the chest and that he "was in fear of being attacked."

Oulson, a Navy veteran, was originally from Mount Sterling, Ill. and came to Florida about 15 years ago. He moved to Land O'Lakes with his wife in 2010.

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