Late Monday, a man texting with his 3-year-old daughter in a Florida movie theater was fatally shot by a retired cop sitting behind him, authorities told the Associated Press. The former police captain, 71-year-old Curtis Reeves, allegedly shot after he asked the victim to stop texting in the theater, according to Pasco County Sheriff’s officials. A witness said Reeves and his wife got into a loud argument with 43-year-old Chad Oulson and his wife when Reeves took out his gun. Oulson’s wife put her hand over her husband, and Reeves fired the gun, hitting Oulson’s wife in the hand and Oulson in the chest.
Reeves retired from the Tampa Police Department in 1993, and later worked security for Busch Gardens and was on the board of a neighboring county’s Crime Stoppers organization, according to the Associated Press. He was charged with second-degree murder.
Even on the job, prominent incidents of seeming police misuse of force are all-too-common. But retired and off-duty cops have also been also the perpetrators of unjustified gun violence. Just this week, an off-duty officer shot a fellow driver in the leg after they got into an altercation over a fender bender. In other incidents, an off-duty Washington, D.C. cop shot a transgender woman who was sitting in a car in drugstore parking lot, an off-duty Chicago officer killed the angry father of a girl he hit with his motorcycle, and an off-duty Nassau County police officer shot and killed a cab driver after a night of drinking. In 2012, two different retired police officers shot and killed one of their own children after they allegedly mistook them for burglars in their home.