Ex-Tampa Police captain Curtis Reeves Jr., who shot 43-year-old Chad Oulson dead in a dispute over texting while inside a Florida movie theater last month, said he feared for his life when he killed him and if he had to do it all over again he would have simply switched seats.
Since Oulson's Jan. 13 shooting death, Reeves Jr., 71, has been jailed on second-degree murder and aggravated battery charges. Reeves' attorneys argued at a bail hearing Friday that he should be given bail because he was defending himself at the time of the shooting, according to a several reports on the audio made public for the first time Friday.
"If I wasn't afraid of getting beat up, I would have never pulled a pistol," Reeves noted in the recording, according to Naples News. "I was defending myself. It don't make it any easier… the guy was very aggressive."
"The guy scared the hell out of me," Reeves added, according to Reuters.
Reeves, who faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 25 years in prison if he is convicted on the second-degree murder charge, appeared repentant for his actions.
"If I had to do it over again, it never would have happened," he told detectives. "I would have moved."
In earlier testimony Reeves was also shown weeping in court.
The retired lawman explained to investigators that he was upset when Oulson kept his cellphone on during the previews of the combat drama "Lone Survivor." He explained that after they exchanged words Oulson told him he was texting his daughter's babysitter, to which he responded by seeking out a manager.
He said when he returned to his seat, Oulson became aggressive and leaned in toward him.
"I had nowhere to go," Reeves explained in the audio. "I kept leaning back, then he was virtually on top of me."
He said he discharged his gun because he thought Oulson had punched him. Prosecutors argued on Wednesday, however, that Reeves didn't deserve bail and argued that Oulson did not touch or strike him during the dispute. Eyewitnesses testified that they saw him throw popcorn at Reeves.
Reeves' wife, Vivian, said Oulson cursed at him when he asked him to "stop playing with his cell phone."
"After the lights dimmed, my husband asked him to stop. He (Oulson) said something to him, but I couldn't hear him," she noted, according to a Naples News report. "He (Oulson) stood up and leaned over and said, 'Who the **** do u think you are.'"
When detectives asked the weeping Vivian why she thought her husband shot Oulson, she replied in the interview, "I don't know."