WESLEY CHAPEL — It was an image of a smiling Curtis Reeves Jr. that forced Jamira Dixon off the road Monday.
Curiosity got the best of her while she was driving. She had read accounts earlier in the day of a shooting at Cobb Grove 16 Theatre in Wesley Chapel that left 43-year-old Chad Oulson mortally wounded. She wanted to see what the man arrested by Pasco Sheriff's Office deputies looked like.
The photo, a smiling Facebook picture of Reeves, came over her phone.
“It sent chills down my spine and I had to pull the car over,” Dixon said Wednesday night from her home in Wesley Chapel. “I knew who it was. It was that person I had an encounter with.''
Dixon, 33, and her husband, Michael Dixon said they were confronted by Reeves on Dec. 28 for texting during a movie, which also was at the Cobb Grove 16 Theatre.
Reeves, 71, a retired Tampa police captain, is being held in the Land O' Lakes Jail without bond, charged with second-degree murder. The Pasco County Sheriff's Office said Reeves shot Oulson once in the chest after an argument that began when Oulson was texting during the movie previews.
The bullet traveled through Nicole Oulson's ring finger, which she held up to her husband's chest, and into her husband.
Jamira and Michael Dixon said they were with their son, two daughters and a niece – they range in age from 7 to 19 – at an afternoon matinee of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug on Dec. 28.
The Dixons, who said they frequent the theater, were sitting in the same row as the person they believe is Reeves. Jamira Dixon texted a friend, which enraged the man, she said.
The couple said the man complained and they were approached by an usher who told them they would be kicked out of the theater if the texting continued.
“We're law-abiding citizens, my wife was like, OK, we'll put the phone away, it's fine,” Michael Dixon said. “But we noticed at the end of the aisle this guy and he's still talking to the usher and pointing at us and angrily shaking his hands and everything.”
Jamira Dixon said she was bothered by the man's behavior and was tempted to speak to the staff there but didn't.
She also said her son was sick and was shifting a lot in his seat, which also angered the man.
“As the night went on, he just glared and glared and was grumbling the whole, entire night,” Jamira Dixon said.
The couple was interviewed separately by detectives Tuesday. Each was questioned about their experience for nearly an hour, they said.
During that same instance, the phone of a man who sat in front of the Dixon's activated. There was no ringtone or vibration, just the light, Jamira Dixon said.
“When (the man) leaned over, he said, 'Can you please, please turn that off. It's really disturbing me,'” Jamira Dixon said. “And he was just really upset about it. It wasn't a good experience at all.”
When the movie ended, Jamira Dixon took the kids to the bathroom and Michael Dixon waited nearby. The man glared at Michael Dixon and did the same as Jamira Dixon came out of the bathroom and waited for the kids to come out, they said. Michael Dixon said it felt as if the man was trying to provoke a fight.
Jamira Dixon said she made it a point to remember the face of the man that confronted her family that day.
“At the end of the movie I remember thinking to myself I have to remember what his face looks like because if I want to go out there and complain – it's a really dark place in the theater – I have to be able to tell them who it was bothering me so much. … That's why I remember his face because I made it an issue to remember him due to the way he was acting.”