Alleged Wesley Chapel movie theater shooter Curtis Reeves ordered held without bond

6:46 PM, Jan 14, 2014   |    comments
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Curtis Reeves wears what police officials say is a suicide prevention vest during his first court appearance, a day after he allegedly shot two people inside a Wesley Chapel movie theater.
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Wesley Chapel, FL -- On Tuesday a judge ordered no bond for Curtis Reeves.

Friends and former co-workers say they were stunned when authorities identified him as the gunman in Monday's movie theater shooting.

Reeves is accused of fatally shooting 43-year-old Chad Oulsen as the two argued inside a Wesley Chapel movie theater. Witnesses say Reeves was angry over Oulsen using his cell phone to send text messages during the previews.

"When they identified the person involved in this incident as Curtis Reeves, I couldn't believe it," said Jim Diamond.

A former co-worker for 15 years, Diamond described Reeves as progressive, level-headed, and even humorous.

"We literally have risked our lives together on more than one occasion," said Diamond. "I have confidence in his decision-making ability and until someone tells me different, I'm gonna believe he was right. And irrespective, he's still gonna be my friend."

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Tampa police confirm Reeves was with the department for 20 years, rising to the rank of Captain.

He was instrumental in forming their Tactical Response Team, and his records show numerous commendations. But there is also an occasional mention about his temper as well.

His son Matthew has been an officer with the department for nearly 11 years.

After retiring from Tampa PD, Reeves was director of security at Busch Gardens. He was also Director of Hernando Crime-stoppers.

Never did the people who know him best think they would ever see Curtis Reeves as he stood on Tuesday in front of a judge. The 71-year-old was draped in a vest, arraigned on 2nd degree murder charges.

He was ordered held without bond until a more formal hearing.

All of this painted a starkly different picture from the man whom friends and colleagues had come to know. Many of them had packed the courtroom prepared to testify in support of Reeves, but the hearing was short and they left without comment.

Reeves' family members were escorted out a side door, away from the view of news cameras.

A full hearing, says his attorney, will be held sometime next week, when he promised more evidence will be presented.

"So please don't rush to judgment," said Attorney Richard Escobar, "let's hear all the evidence, let's hear from the witnesses and then you all can make your decisions."

Escobar said his client is doing fine, but is concerned. "Heartbroken," in his words, knowing now that a man's life was lost.

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