Florida Popcorn Shooting Outcome Likley To Be Appealed

Bob Irwin highlights the latest self defense and other shootings of the week. Read them and see what went wrong, what went right and what we can learn from self defense with a gun.

Spilled Popcorn Movies Movie Theater
Florida Popcorn Shooting Outcome Likley To Be Appealed
Bob Irwin
Bob Irwin

USA –-(Ammoland.com)- The Washington Times and most other media reported on 03-10-2017, a court decision in Clearwater, Florida. A ruling on the defense theory offered by a retired 74 year old Florida Police Officer who, fearing for his life, shot and killed a 43 year old patron at the Wesley Chapel Movie Theater in 2014.

The two men had gotten into a dispute over the younger man talking on his cell phone while sitting in front of the retired Officer.

His attorney offered a “Stand your ground” defense, arguing that his client need not retreat when threatened under Florida law. The idea is that if one has a legal right to be standing where they are and not the aggressor in the confrontation the use of deadly force is legal.

The Pasco-Pinellas Circuit Judge disagreed in a two page court order, denying his motion to dismiss the case in accordance with the State’s Stand your ground law.

She said “Because the defendant’s testimony was significantly at odds with the physical evidence and other witness testimony, this court has considerable doubts about his credibility, and is not willing to come to the conclusion that these circumstances are those envisioned by the legislature when the ‘stand your ground’ law was enacted” the judge ruled.

The former Tampa police captain will now face second degree murder charges over the shooting death. A trial date was not immediately set.


A rude, arrogant movie patron disrupts the defendant’s quiet enjoyment of the theater. The “Stand Your Ground” statute is designed to allow reasonable defense when you are standing in a place you have a right to be and your life is threatened.

The shooter met the first part, legally sitting in the theater but missed the danger of death of serious physical harm part by a mile. Throwing popcorn is unlikely to cause a serious injury.

In the opinion of two of my Fired Up attorneys, the judge errored in ruling out the defendant’s “stand your ground” defense. That should have been a question for the jury at trial.

Should you be involved in a shooting, check that your lawyer is experienced in both criminal and civil law or get two co-operating lawyers so the defense theory chosen for the criminal case doesn’t cause you to lose a civil lawsuit.

This case is will be appealed and maybe headed for the United States Supreme Court.

Bob Irwin, The Gun Store, Las Vegas

About Bob Irwin

The writer is the owner of The Gun Store in Las Vegas and has a gun talk radio show “Fired Up with Bob Irwin” Firedup is now on KSHP 1400 am radio from 9 to 10 pm on Thursdays and also on YouTube “Fired Up with Bob Irwin.

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I may have to get a gun to protect me from the cc gun nuts that think they can shoot anybody if they feel threatened, BULL [email protected], wonder if he missed, and shot someone else in the crowded theater who wasn’t even involved, this is irresponsible and unacceptable. P.S. Guns are more trouble than their worth.


Defending shooters like this cart blance is a big reason the responsible gun ownership movement loses credibility. The video , and the mans wife and other witnesses all contradict the shooters claim of feeling his life was threatened. His wife’s first statement during the act was “you didnt have to shoot him” to which the shooter replied to “shut her fucking mouth” When you put current and former law enforcement officers acts above constituinal law and common sense you are doing a huge disservice fo the rest of us legal gun owners and the movement. You need to seriously re… Read more »

Denise Zisser

The piece above has errors in it— the victim was not “talking on a cellphone during a movie”— he was sending a text message to his daughters daycare during previews before the movie started– ironically just as the shooter did himself he sent a text message himself to his son during that same time…. Look these crazy people who shoot and kill someone because he had a bruised ego from having some popcorn tossed at him make the stand your ground law lose credibility because nobody in their right mind who has the facts of this case would get behind… Read more »


Bob, Get a clue. Buy a vowel. Or do a bit of research. “A rude, arrogant movie patron disrupts the defendant’s quiet enjoyment of the theater.” Oulson, the victim, was texting his babysitter to check in. It was during the previews. A few minutes earlier, Reeves, the shooter, was texting his son, a cop, who was just arriving to watch the movie together. The rude arrogant movie patron was Reeves. He would not ‘let it go’ even after Oulson put his cell phone away. There are 4 criteria needed for a Self-defense claim. Three of them for a Stand Your… Read more »

Old 1811

I’m a retired LEO and I tend to be able to see the LEO’s side of things. Most non-LEOs, both cop lovers and cop haters, have no idea what they’re talking about on the subject of police-citizen contacts, from traffic stops to shootings. That said, from the little I’ve seen of this case, I can’t see any way this shooting can be justified. If rudeness and arrogance were shootable offenses, I would have shot at least one person a day, every day, for 30 years. (And some of them would have been bosses and prosecutors.) And, of course, this shooter… Read more »


The ex-cop decided to be the “cell phone police” and accosted the victim. He should have, and indeed had the option, to go to management. My understanding is that the ex-cop was “snarky” and not at all courteous, basically demanding the victim put away the cell phone. The when the victim told him off throwing some popcorn at the ex-cop, the ex-cop pulled out a pistol and shot him. Anyone that thinks this in any way is a self-defense shooting is high!!!


The article is fraught with errors and misstatements. The comments even dumber.
As a starter, the judge did not rule anything about the validity of a SYG defense at trial. Simply denied pretrial immunity from prosecution. This ruling can be appealed pretrial, but it will never be before the US Supreme Court. And whether deadly force was lawful is much more complicated than suggested.


Let’s face it, throwing popcorn or any soft and light-weight material at someone should never support a deadly-force defense. Let’s pray for the lawman and his family, as he serves his time in jail. No reasonabke jury should decide that this was justified under stand your ground. The defense was grasping at straws for a good reason.


Were your attorneys familiar with Florida law, in particular? Because I thought the whole point of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law was that it preempts the DA from filing charges if prima facie evidence supports a claim of legal self defense.

IE if a judge finds it applies, there is no trial and not jury.

I could have misunderstood the statute.


Note that I am not stating any opinion on the judge’s ruling, just that as I understand Florida SYG the defense attorney’s motion to dismiss under SYG would be a standard defense tactic.

Central Florida Resident

I am a Central Florida resident, concealed carry permit holder but not a lawyer. Daily, I listened to the testimonies on radio and television for this case. Before you form your own opinion about this case, read, view or listen to these testimonies–in particular the off-duty Deputy Sheriff and the ex-cop himself. View the seating layout in this theater-my living room is smaller. You’ll see why the judge ruled the way she did.

Dr. Strangelove

Cases like this screw up stand your ground for the rest of us. I’m surprised that the court even heard the appeal.


There are are dumb butts born everyday!

George Haynes

Your spin on the story is skewed for the ex-cop. You need to research the local papers as to what really happened. I live here. The ex-cop went ballistic over nothing. An innocent man with a family as killed over a cell phone conversation – NOT Reasonable by any stretch of imagination. The movie hadn’t even started yet. The victim was using his cell phone to check on the babysitter. There was never a reason to pull a gun. Walk Away ! Move Somewhere Else!- Don’t Shoot ! Shooting should be a last resort when there are no other choices.… Read more »

Brian DuBridge

Nobody is more prone to shoot in such a situation than a cop, of course.

Old 1811

The incident didn’t happen in Clearwater, but the court decision did. That’s where the Pinellas County Justice Center is.

Brian DuBridge

We don’t know if it will be appealed, if it hasn’t gone to trial yet. Sounds like the judge simply refused to drop the charges on the basis of stand your ground. I’m sure stand your ground will be used at the trial.


It’s routine to appeal SYG Immunity decisions and this one is a good candidate for such an occurrence. Remember, the defense wanted to AVOID a trial by a favorable ruling and, most importantly, take any future lower-standard civil trial off the table. Avoiding any possible civil judgements is one of the hidden, but vital elements of the SYG laws. If the immunity result is not appealed, then this case – a simple claim of self-defense, will go before a jury. And even though the words, stand your ground, are in the jury instructions, it will no longer be a so-called… Read more »