Wife of movie theater shooting victim opens up about incident

Nicole Oulson said her "whole world just got shattered in a million pieces" after she witnessed her husband, Chad, getting fatally shot for texting at a Florida movie theater last week.

The couple was at a matinee showing of "Lone Survivor" at the Cobb Grove 16 cinema in Wesley Chapel, Fla., on  Jan. 13 when Chad Oulson, 43, got in a spat with retired police officer Curtis Reeves Jr., 71, over texting, authorities said.


Witnesses said an agitated Reeves pulled out a handgun and fired, hitting Chad Oulson in the chest. The bullet also struck Nicole Oulson in a hand as she tried to shield her husband. Reeves is charged with second-degree murder.

Since the killing, Oulson said, she has been trying to pick up the pieces and "put them all back together."

The 33-year-old cried as she described the incident at a brief news conference Wednesday at her attorney's law office in Tampa.

"I was just so excited and looking forward to spending the day with the love of my life," she said, noting that  the couple didn't often have the opportunity for date nights.

Her main focus, she said, is to continue to care for the couple's 22-month-old daughter, Alexis.

"Right now, I'm just still trying to recover from the shock," she said. "It's so hard and so unbearable but I want to thank you all for your thoughts and your prayers."

The McIntyre Firm, which represents Oulson, created a Chad Oulson Memorial Fund on its website to help support the family.

"Chad won awards for good conduct during his service in the Navy, including in Desert Storm, and is described by friends and family as being a fun-loving family man," the memorial fund page states. "Chad had a vibrant and warm personality, and is remembered by his friends and family for his love of dirt biking, his dedication to his family, and his generous friendship. He will be sorely missed by those who knew him."

The fund was set up in part because Oulson did not have life insurance.

"Any donation will help his wife and young daughter cope with their loss," the page states.

An additional Facebook page, titled "Chad Oulson Family Fund," which has 2,147 "likes," was created by Joseph De Trapani, a coworker and friend of Chad's.

Donations are being made via Paypal and a Go Fund Me page. As of Wednesday afternoon, more than $2,000 had been raised on Go Fund Me and about $900 through Paypal, De Trapani told the Los Angeles Times.

"He [Chad] made you feel like if you ever needed anything he would be there," De Trapani, who knew Chad for two years, told The Times. "We created the page to help raise some money for Nicole and Lexy. We did it to make sure all the money went to them.... All it takes is skipping a coffee a day to help a family in need."

De Trapani said all funds raised are going "straight into the trust fund created by Oulson's attorneys."


"We are working closely with them to make sure [the family] is protected and taken care of," he said.

Calls to Oulson and Reeve's attorneys were not returned.


Twitter: @saba_h