Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

Police name Florida deaths suspect

Shawn Tyson, 16, has been arrested in connection with the murders of British holidaymakers James Cooper and James Kouzaris in Florida (AP)
Shawn Tyson, 16, has been arrested in connection with the murders of British holidaymakers James Cooper and James Kouzaris in Florida (AP)
James Kouzaris who along with friend James Cooper was shot dead in a rundown neighbourhood in Florida
The road where the bodies of two British tourists were found in the Newtown neighbourhood of Sarasota (AP)

A 16-year-old boy arrested in connection with the deaths of two young British holidaymakers in Florida was arrested days before the murders for a firearms offence.

University friends James Cooper, 25, and James Kouzaris, 24, were found shot in the street in a deprived crime-ridden part of the city of Sarasota at about 3am on Saturday.

Sarasota Police Department has named the 16-year-old as Shawn Tyson, who lives close to the murder scene. Officers said he was arrested on April 7 for aggravated assault with a handgun, reportedly for firing into a car.

Detectives said it was "very unusual" to find tourists in the area, which is about 12 miles away from the upmarket island city of Longboat Key where the pair were staying.

Police said the Britons were not carrying any drugs but would not confirm whether they had any weapons or an unusually large amount of money.

Mr Kouzaris, from Northampton, was on a three-week holiday in Florida with Mr Cooper and his family, from Warwick.

Detectives are investigating how the former Sheffield University students came to be in a narrow one-way street in the impoverished Newtown area of northern Sarasota in the middle of the night. The pair had been out drinking the night before in downtown Sarasota, 20 blocks from where they were killed.

Mr Kouzaris, a popular and successful amateur rugby player, spent several months travelling in South America before his death, visiting Ecuador, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Bolivia. His parents described him as a "wonderful son" in a brief statement released through Northamptonshire Police.

Mr Cooper represented Warwickshire at tennis and once played Andy Murray in a junior tournament. He studied at Sheffield University's management school before becoming a full-time tennis coach for Warwick University-based company inspire2coach, where he had just been promoted to a head coach position and was due to start his new role after returning from holiday.

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz