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Friends remember man killed in Florida theater as 'good, genuine person'

By Dana Ford and Michael Martinez, CNN
updated 8:53 PM EST, Tue January 14, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: A memorial service for Chad Oulson is scheduled for Saturday
  • NEW: He rode dirt bikes, loved boating, and was a devoted family man
  • NEW: Oulson served in the Navy during Operation Desert Storm
  • He was with his wife when he was fatally shot at a movie theater Monday

(CNN) -- Genuine. Funny. The type of guy who'd give you the shirt off his back.

That's how friends described Chad Wayne Oulson, who was fatally shot in a dispute about texting in a Florida cinema Monday.

"It is just going to be a huge hole in everybody's lives for him and his family. He'd give you the shirt off his back if he needed to," Joseph Trapani told CNN affiliate WFTS.

Oulson, 43, was with his wife at the Grove 16 theater in the Tampa suburb of Wesley Chapel, where they were about to watch the Peter Berg film "Lone Survivor."

They were on a lunch and movie date, WFTS reported. Her friends said that Oulson's wife had taken off from work to spend the day with her husband during time off from his job.

She works for USAA selling insurance, while Oulson did financial work for SKY Powersports in Port Richey, the affiliate said.

At the movies, a confrontation arose between Oulson and a 71-year-old retired police officer when Oulson sent a text message during previews to his young daughter, police said. The former officer, Curtis Reeves, told Oulson to put away his cell phone, and a subsequent dispute ended when Reeves allegedly shot Oulson.

Oulson's wife was shot in her hand when she raised it as the bullet was fired, police said. The single bullet then went into Oulson's chest.

"She's a wreck. I mean she just lost her husband, the father of her little girl over something that should have never happened," WFTS reported Trapani said.

Reeves, a former Tampa Police Department officer, has been charged with second-degree murder. He was denied bond during his first court appearance Tuesday.

According to an obituary on the website of Loyless Funeral Home in Land O'Lakes, Florida, a memorial service for Oulson is scheduled for Saturday.

He was born in Alton, Illinois, and spent the last 20 years in Florida, according to the obituary.

Oulson served in the U.S. Navy from 1990 to 1997 and was an aviation maintenance administration petty officer 2nd class, according to Navy news desk Lt. Richlyn Neal. He served during Operation Desert Storm.

Oulson rode dirt bikes, loved boating, and was a motor cross enthusiast. He was a devoted father and husband.

A sensational crime that strikes many chords

"Chad was funny. I remember when we all first started hanging out, I would tell him it's like hanging out with my brother because we would pick at each other make fun of each other, give a hard time," Glenda O'Meara, a friend, told CNN affiliate WTSP.

Saverio Mongelli, a friend and neighbor, told WFTS that Oulson was always at the pool playing with kids. He loved water and his daughter.

"Good, genuine person, funny guy," Mongelli said before breaking into tears.

An autopsy on Oulson's body was to be conducted Tuesday.

CNN's Jennifer Rizzo contributed to this report.

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