Boy charged with killing two British tourists in Florida

18th Apr 2011

A 16-year-old boy has been arrested and charged with the suspected killing of two British tourists in Florida.

James Kouzaris, 24 and James Cooper, 25, had been on holiday with family and friends in the Gulf coast town of Sarasota.

Their bodies were found peppered with bullets in a deprived residential area renowned for gang violence.

Sarasota Police Captain Paul Sutton told new agency AFP: “It’s unusual in that it’s public housing, there’s no open businesses, and they are in the area just before 3 in the morning.”

“The men were on a family vacation and staying in Longboat Key, a nearby beach resort community,” he added.


“One of the victims’ parents were travelling with them. It’s a horrible incident.”

The two men, both graduates of the University of Sheffield, did not have a car.

The motive of the murders has yet to be established, although police suspect it might have been a street robbery or a drug deal that went wrong.

Police confirmed neither of the men were in possession of drugs, although they would not say whether they had cash or weapons.

The area is a hotspot for gangs.

They had been staying on the upmarket island city of Longboat Key, about 12 miles from the less affluent area where they were killed.

Mr Kouzaris, from Northampton, was a guest of the Cooper family, from Warwick who were on holiday in the area.

“Both victims were white,” said Sarasota Police Captain Paul Sutton.

A spokesman for the British consulate in Miami said: ‘British consular officials can confirm that two British nationals were killed in Sarasota, Florida, on April 16. Next of kin have been notified.

Shootings of tourists re rare in the U.S. but in November 2009 Thomas Reeve was gunned down while drinking with friends in a Texas bar.


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