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'Breathe! Breathe!': 911 calls in theater shooting released

Via Facebook

Chad Oulson and his wife Nicole in a photo from Facebook.

Moviegoers tried desperately to save a Florida father after he was shot in the chest during a dispute over texting before a screening of "Lone Survivor," 911 calls released Friday showed.

"Come on, buddy, breathe! Breathe!" one caller can be heard urging mortally wounded Chad Oulson.

Oulson, 43, a Navy veteran, was killed Jan. 13 during an argument with retired police captain Curtis Reeves, 71, at the Cobb Grove 16 in Wesley Chapel, Fla.

Police say Reeves was annoyed that Oulson was texting his daughter. Angry words were exchanged, and Oulson threw popcorn at Reeves, who pulled out a .380 semiautomatic and fired a single shot, police say.

Reeves, who is charged with second-degree murder, was defending himself, his lawyer said.


The 911 tapes reveal that others in the theater, including a nurse, labored to keep Oulson alive until paramedics could get there, performing chest compressions while police operators grilled them about the shooter.

A nurse, who witnessed the shooting of a man at the Cobb theaters in Tampa, Fla., speaks with emergency dispatchers while helping to tend to the victim.

"I'm just trying to make sure this guy stays with us," one caller said.

"This guy's pulse is weak," he said later. "We need an ambulance, stat."

A dispatcher asked where the gunman was.

"In the theater still," the caller replied. "He's right behind me."

A female who got on the line made it clear Oulson's life was ebbing away while they waited for paramedics."

"Where are they?" she demanded.

"They're on the way," the dispatcher told her.

A chronology of the incident provided by the county said paramedics got to the scene in under four minutes and went inside three minutes later, after sheriff's deputies cleared the scene.

Oulson, who had a 3-year-old daughter and was on a date with his wife, Nicole, was pronounced dead at the hospital. Nicole Oulson was shot in the hand.

At a press conference earlier this week, she said her grief was "unbearable."

"In the blink of an eye, my life got shattered into a million pieces and now I'm left trying to pick them up and put them back together," she said.