A man is dead and a woman is seriously injured after an argument about texting inside a movie theater suddenly spiraled out of control. Now, a small suburb in Tampa, Florida is in shock and a family is left to pick up the pieces after losing a young father.
Details are still very fuzzy on what exactly happened, but a few witnesses and the local police seem to be operating from at least the same rough sequence of events. According to Fox’s Tampa affiliate, a man and a woman were waiting for a screening of Lone Survivor to begin at the Cobb CineBistro in Wesley Chapel when a separate couple sitting behind them told the man to put away his cell phone and stop texting. It was making noise and he was not pleased about it. The texter reportedly told the other man he was communicating with his three-year-old daughter. Some more words were exchanged. Popcorn was thrown, and the man in back allegedly pulled out a firearm and promptly shot both the texter and his wife.
Here’s how an ex-marine who was also in the screening described the incident…
"Their voices start going up, there seems to be a confrontation, somebody throws popcorn, then bang, he was shot. He staggered two seats over, fell on my son and I. I asked if the guy was OK and he started gurgling blood and then fell."
Just seconds after the gunfire, a brave theatergoer was able to wrestle the gun away from the alleged shooter. The hero then held him down until the police arrived and arrested him. He’s currently being questioned. As for the victims, they were both transported to a local hospital. The man was tragically pronounced dead not long after, but the woman is expected to make a full recovery. Her injuries are not life-threatening.
We all hate texting in movie theaters, but a lack of social courtesy should not be a death sentence, nor should it ever inspire a physical response. In fact, given the level of violence and the fact that the movie hadn't even started yet, it's pretty clear there was some much larger things going on emotionally with the shooter. Besides, there’s no reason to ever bring a gun to the movies. No good comes of that. It’s becoming more and more likely that we’re rapidly heading toward a world in which we will have to pass through metal detectors in order to see a movie. That’s incredibly sad and disappointing for our entire culture, but if this type of behavior is on the rise, AMC and company probably won’t have any choice.
Cinema Blend’s sincerest well-wishes go out to the family and friends of the victim, most especially his wife who remains hospitalized and his children. What happened today was a tragedy, and it deserves a swift and harsh punishment.