Texting during movies has been a hotly debated topic in film circles, but today the issue turned deadly serious when a dispute over cellphone use at a Florida theater led to one man being fatally shot and a woman seriously wounded, according to a report from CNN.
The argument reportedly broke out before a screening of "Lone Survivor" at The Grove 16 Theater in Wesley Chapel, north of Tampa, when the suspect and his wife complained to the couple in front of them about their cell phone usage.
"There was an altercation because the victim was using his cell phone. He was texting. He was making a lot of noise," Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco told CNN. "This led to a verbal altercation, the verbal altercation escalated." The suspect. a retired police officer, pulled out a handgun and shot the two victims. He was detained at the theater until the police arrived.
"This was an isolated altercation between two guests that escalated unexpectedly. The safety, security and comfort of our guests and team members are always our top priorities, and we are truly heartbroken by this incident," Cobb Theatres, which operates the Grove complex, said in a written statement.
The issue of texting during movies has been a sore point among moviegoers for some time now. Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, the Austin-based theater chain kicked out a patron for texting during a movie and went on to produce a series of PSAs urging moviegoers to refrain from using their mobile devices when the lights are down.
"This is a tragedy, our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims' families," said Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in a statement.