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Doug Tobin, a spokesman for the Pasco Sheriff's Office, said the shooter, identified by local media as 71-year-old Curtis Reeves, was waiting for the film to begin with his wife when they got into an argument with another couple in the row of seats directly in front during the previews.
At some point, Reeves brandished a gun and shot both Chad Oulson, who was texting, and his wife Nichole Oulson, the Sheriff's department told CNN.
"The male victim is deceased. The female victim was injured with non-life threatening injuries," Tobin said.
Tobin added that the shooter was detained by a fellow moviegoer before being taken into police custody.
Reeves retired from the Tampa police 20 years ago, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.
Reeves asked Chad Oulson, 43, to stop texting several times, and left the theatre before returning to his seat, Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco said. The argument began after Oulson asked Reeves if he had reported him to theatre staff for using his phone, he said.
Oulson was shot in the chest, and Nichole Oulson, 33, was injured in the hand while trying to protect her husband as the shot was fired, he said.
"Lone Survivor," based on a New York Times best seller, stars Mark Wahlberg and tells the story of four Navy SEALs on an ill-fated covert mission against the Taliban in Afghanistan.
In a statement, Cobb Theatres said it was "deeply saddened" by the shooting, expressing sympathy for the families of the victims.
"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," it added.