10 Investigates how theater shooting suspect was taken into custody

12:03 AM, Jan 16, 2014   |    comments
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New Port Richey-- The seemingly lax arrest of  Curtis Reeves, the 71-year-old charged with second degree murder in the Wesley Chapel movie theater shooting, has caught the attention of several 10 News viewers. 

In e-mails, calls and posts on social media, the public continues to ask why Reeves was able to casually walk to the patrol vehicle, with a water bottle in his hand, without deputies escorting him and without his hands cuffed behind his back. 

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10 Investigates spoke with Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco, and told him about the flood of questions, and the viewers who pointed out  many instances where deputies would be around him. 

"Why not here?," we asked.

Sheriff Nocco says it wasn't as it appeared. 

"In this situation, you can't see the full capacity of what is going on. There were 40 other deputies in the area all around."

Nocco says if Reeves tried to make a break, he would have had nowhere to run. And more importantly, he posed no threat to the public or any of the deputies.

"At this point, he's in that jump suit we provided him, because we took all his clothes as evidence. So, we knew what was on his body," he explained. "There was no evidence; there was no ill-intent toward law enforcement he could have made, because there were no weapons on his body."

Another question from viewers- did the arresting deputies know that Reeves was a highly-respected, retired Tampa Police officer at the time, and did they give him a break because of it?

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The Sheriff was adamant.

"We knew he was a former police officer and the thought he got a break is absolutely crazy," he said. "There was never a break. He is going to be brought to justice. We did everything we could to ensure we are going to get a conviction."

Sheriff Nocco defended the deputies, and added how proud he was of all team efforts at the theater that day. 

"I am so proud of our detectives, the state attorney's office- it was team effort and we have to bring justice to the victims," he said.

The Sheriff also said Reeves was handcuffed in front because he was 71-years-old, and the office has policy to do that with older people they take into custody.

Nocco says he believes his deputies have to have discretion to deal with the circumstances of each incident- adding that in this instance, he believes they handled the situation correctly and justice will be served.

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