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TODAY   |  January 15, 2014

Movie theater shooting suspect claims self-defense

As another couple claims they had a similar texting dispute with 71-year-old Curtis Reeves, the former police captain accused of shooting and killing 43-year-old Chad Oulson and injuring his wife in a movie theater on Monday, the suspect has said he was defending himself. NBC’s Kerry Sanders reports.

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>>> well, there's a dramatic new twist this morning in a dispute over texting at a florida movie theater that ended in the shooting death of a young father. kerry sanders is in wesley chapel , florida , this morning.

>> reporter: good morning. a couple has now come forward to say they had a disturbingly similar incident with curtis reeves, the gunman or the alleged gunman in the shooting incident that took place here. this couple says they also had a run-in with him that happened at the same movie theater that it happened two weeks ago and also involved texting. 71-year-old retired police captain was ordered to wear a protective vest for his court appearance tuesday. he's accused of second-degree murder in the shooting and killing of a man who was texting in a movie theater .

>> the evidence of guilt is significant.

>> reporter: the victim, 43-year-old chad oulson was a married father of a 3-year-old daughter and a navy veteran deployed during operation desert storm .

>> it was kind -- he was kind of crazy, goofy guy, kind of onery, but he was a good guy.

>> reeves had a spotless career as a police officer and served as president of his local crime stoppers program. his attorney says he was defending himself.

>> the alleged victim attacked him, struck him with an object, which resulted in the gunfire.

>> they say they had a confrontation with the same man at the same movie theater back in december. dixon told reporters tuesday that she was texting. and he became just upset about the whole situation and started giving us dirty looks . he gets up, he's like, can you do me a favor, can you please just stop texting. she says, it could have been us. off- duty officer hamilton is being hailed a hero for running toward the gunfire and disarming reeves.

>> you don't shoot somebody over a texting incident.

>> reporter: both the sheriff's department and the state attorneys office investigating the scene right here at the movie theater say they do not believe that florida 's controversial stand your ground law is a defense in this case. but ultimately, it will be up to a judge to determine that is the case.

>> kerry sanders , thank you very