Two People Shot, One Killed At Florida Theater For Texting During ‘Lone Survivor’

By January 13, 2014


I was born and raised in Florida, so it’s alternately funny and painful when I see those “Florida Man…” news stories or headlines about people from my home state doing the most idiotic things you can think of. But there’s nothing funny about this latest piece of Florida news: somebody decided to shoot two people in the row in front of him for texting during a screening of Lone Survivor.

MyFoxTampaBay has the report, which says that two people were shot – one fatally – around 1:30pm this afternoon at the Cobb CineBistro at Grove 16 complex in Wesley Chapel, Florida.

According to Sheriff Chris Nocco, an as-yet-unidentified man and his wife were among those preparing to watch a matinee of ‘Lone Survivor’ when the couple got into an argument with the couple sitting in front of them.

“The victim was on his cell phone, he was texting. We believe he was making some kind of noise. This noise led to an altercation between the suspect and the victim,” Nocco explained.

The man in back pulled out a pistol and shot the two people sitting in front of him.

Both victims were hospitalized. The male victim has since died, while the woman suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

There used to be a time when it was safe to talk to other human beings in movie theaters. If someone was talking loudly, you could shush them without fear of being shot in retaliation. If someone was texting or on the phone during a movie, there was once a time – not that long ago – in which I’d feel comfortable leaning over and whispering to them to knock it off. But after the Colorado shooting, things seem to have gotten worse. I used to be a big proponent of trying to create a friendly movie-going environment, and I used to encourage everyone to preserve their movie-going experience by shushing or calling others out when folks were being disruptive. We’re hearing more and more about people carrying weapons into theaters, and I think I’ve reached the point where I don’t want to be the subject of the next news story. It’s not worth it anymore.

The sad thing – well, one of many sad things, actually – is a movie theater is supposed to be one of those places where you CAN feel safe. We’re supposed to be enjoying a shared experience with others in a dark room, not having to worry about whether or not that couple talking two rows back is going to pull out a gun and shoot someone. It’s enough to get people to stop coming to the movies altogether, and while that magical experience is still important enough to draw film buffs and movie lovers in, I wouldn’t blame anyone for deciding to stay home and catch a movie on VOD instead. It sucks that it’s come to this. I despise the people who are not only ruining this experience for other people, but who are actively destroying other people’s lives (and ending them, in some cases) by pulling the trigger in a theater.

Someone in the Tampa theater was able to detain the shooter (talk about heroic) until the police showed up, and the killer was still being questioned inside the theater two hours after the shooting. “It’s absolutely crazy it would rise to this level over somebody just texting in a movie theater,” the sheriff said. No kidding, man.

[Photo courtesy of Cinebistro’s Facebook page, via FilmDrunk]
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Ben is a writer living in Los Angeles, California. His work has been featured at,,,, and many more sites across the web. Some of his favorite movies include The Rocketeer, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Tombstone, Lucky Number Slevin, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Collateral, Double Indemnity, Back to the Future and The Prestige. Follow him on Twitter: @BenPears.