Freed to kill: Teenage gunman accused of murdering two British tourists in Florida was released from custody just two weeks ago.
Shawn Tyson, shot James Cooper and James Kouzaris in the back as they ran away, was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after an alleged robbery. But as it was his first offence, he was released from custody while police investigated. He will now be charged as an adult and, if convicted of first-degree murder, could face the death penalty.
U.S. officers were said to be mystified that the two middle-class visitors were in the Newton district.
One theory, however, is that they may have accepted the offer of a lift back to their upmarket resort 12 miles away, only to find themselves being set up for a robbery.
The pair were fleeing for their lives when they were shot ‘multiple times’ in the back with a handgun at 3am.
They were left to die in a run-down housing project infamous for drug-dealing and violent gang activity. Their bodies were found 50ft apart surrounded by at least 20 bullet cases.
It was understood that the weapon allegedly used by Tyson was a TEC-9, a semi-automatic handgun.
Mr Cooper, 25, a tennis coach who once played Andy Murray, and Mr Kouzaris, 24, a town planner and leading amateur rugby player, met while studying at Sheffield University.
They had arrived in Florida last week in time to celebrate Mr Cooper’s 25th birthday on Wednesday.