THE TELEGRAPH UK..Family of Britons shot dead in Sarasota Florida deny they had gone to buy drugs. On Tuesday it emerged that the 16-year-old charged with both murders had been out of custody for less than 12 hours when he gunned them down, having been held over an earlier shooting.
Poignant last photos of the pair taken in a bar just hours before being killed were released by the police in the hope it will prompt witnesses to come forward. The photos were recovered from a camera found near the dead bodies.
As police continue to investigate what the men were doing there, and how they got there, Mr Cooper’s grandfather, Desmond Walton, said his grandson, a high flying tennis coach, would never have considered taking drugs. Detectives have also ruled out any drug link, but continue to be stumped by what exactly happened.
They are working on a theory that having spent a night drinking in Sarasota they accepted a lift from someone and believed they were being driven 12 miles to their rented apartment in Longboat Key. Instead they were taken to Newtown and “ambushed” in a violent street robbery. Residents reported hearing between six and eight shots and it is possible there was more than one gunman. “There is every indication that this was an attempted robbery,” said police spokesman Captain Paul Sutton.
Shawn Tyson, who lives on the estate with his mother, has been charged with double murder and faces the death penalty if convicted. Tyson, a school dropout who has the street nickname of “Young Savage” and a tattoo bearing the same words, had been arrested earlier this month after allegedly shooting at a car, but was released from a juvenile detention centre after witnesses failed to show up to give evidence at a court hearing. NO SNITCHIN............
MIRROR UK NEWS...The teenager accused of killing two British pals in Florida was released on bail hours before the murder. Shawn Tyson, 16, was freed from a juvenile detention centre on Friday afternoon, April 15th, 2011 because witnesses had failed to appear in court. NO SNITCHIN....Ten hours later he allegedly shot dead tourists James Cooper, 25, and James Kouzaris, 24, in a bungled robbery in Sarasota. Tyson – who calls himself "Young Savage" – had been held by police for eight days after being accused of firing a gun at a gang rival’s car.
Detectives say they have found no evidence to suggest that the pair had been trying to buy drugs. Although cash was found on the Britons’ bodies, sources in the Newtown neighbourhood said they had been lured into an ambush by masked gunmen.
Sonja Seymour, who lives on the street where the men were found in the early hours of Saturday, said: ‘I heard that when they arrived here there were already some people waiting for them. They were wearing masks, (just like Newtown's violent "Second Line Gang" does).
Twelve people were shot and killed in and around Newtown in the two-year period from February 2008 to February 2010. Gang members are either suspected, charged or convicted in eight of those homicides. At its peak, the gang violence was so bad that many residents stopped wearing jewelry in public for fear of being robbed. Police responded with an increased focus on gang activity that led to two murder convictions against key members of the Second Line gang.
SARASOTA HERLAD TRIBUNE, Published: Monday, October 11, 2010. SPECIAL REPORT: Newtown's violent "Second Line Gang" (with "Young Savage Tattoo"). The four robbers wore masks as they approached Warren "Redd" Anderson. One of them carried an assault rifle, taking aim at Anderson from a vacant lot across the darkened street. Someone yelled "Get down!" and a bullet came so close Anderson could hear it hiss through the air. He was carrying a large black bag, and as two more shots rang out he dropped it and ran for cover, sprinting around the corner of a house.
Anderson, a barber, watched the robbers rummage through the bag that contained the tools of his trade -- scissors, razors and several dozen pairs of electric trimmers. Anderson recognized the tallest one as DeAndre Tunstall who has a "Young Savage Tattoo", ringleader of the renegade Second Line Street Gang.
Tunstall was wearing a dark ski mask -- the same kind of ski mask that became a trademark of Second Line in the summer of 2006 as if he wanted Anderson to know who was taking his money. "I'd been cutting his hair since he was 6 years old," Anderson would later say. "Of course I knew who he was. Everybody knows that fool."
Sarasota Police Department. DEANDRE ‘D’ TUNSTALL
Black/Male....SENTENCED TO LIFE
6’1” height 160 lbs.
2728 Palmadelia Avenue
Tattoos of CUT THROAT and YOUNG SAVAGE on forearms.
For months, Second Line gang members armed with semi-automatic guns roved the Newtown neighborhood at night, looking for somebody to stick up. In 2008 and 2009 they took street violence to a new level in Newtown, a one-square-mile collection of homes and apartments where people call each other by nicknames from childhood and families go back three and four generations.
Second Line members killed six people, police say, doubling the city's murder rate in one eight-month period. They shot and killed a grocery clerk over a $300 gold chain. They shot and killed a dental assistant who happened to drive by a robbery.
And in the middle of the day in a crowded parking lot, they shot and killed a U.S. Marine reservist outside a convenience store. Tunstall, 20, is in jail on a murder charge, scheduled for trial next month. As he watched from his hiding place that night in February 2008, Anderson knew he was not going to let the gang get away with robbing him. Anderson, 36, who grew up in a tough Chicago neighborhood, was the first person to shoot back at Second Line, but his retaliation only led to more violence.
Getting Second Line off the streets would take help from people all over Newtown. In a county where most people are from somewhere else, Newtown is a place where folks stay put. When someone is shot in Newtown, no one waits for the news to find out what happened. Crowds form at the crime scene tape and cell phones chirp all over the neighborhood.
If a man is shot one night in a fight that started over a few hundred dollars, as happened in June, it is a safe bet that people walking down MLK the next morning will know about it. How much of that information makes it to the police depends on what happened, and to whom. Residents intent on staying out of criminal court have long frustrated the police's efforts to make arrests. A gang member shooting a drug dealer is the kind of crime that causes people everywhere to shake their heads but seldom inspires witnesses to come forward.
But the Second Line Gang committed crimes that got Newtown residents to cooperate with police and sign their names on witness statements. The gang started as a group of teenagers trying to impress older gangs like the Two-Four Boys, which took its name from its 24th street stomping grounds. Two-Four was known for selling crack cocaine, but not for violence.
Second Line lifted its name from the lyrics of New Orleans rapper Juvenile. "Second line" is a parade term for the partiers who follow a band as it passes down the street, and the rapper used it as a name for his followers. Now, if ya at dat second line dem boys got a gun, You better run for it, run for it, run The group adopted colors: red and black. A few got "Second Line" tattoos (and "Young Savage"), and all of them set out to impress the older, more established gangs.
Instead of selling drugs, Second Line Gang stole money. The gang was linked to four home invasion robberies in the summer of 2006 and moved on to robbing drug dealers who carry large amounts of cash. They spent the loot at the mall, wearing their colors as they shopped for the latest Nike sneakers. Some of the older members hung out in topless bars and dated strippers.
A few sold crack cocaine, but none of them were regular users. They stuck with
smoking marijuana and taking Ecstasy. On the street, Second Line member Davon Gordon says people would do an about-face and walk away when they saw the gang coming. "We were it," says Gordon, a wiry 23-year-old with braided hair and tattooed arms. "Dudes were afraid of us and girls wanted to be with us. Second Line was the thing."
As they grew in stature, they grew in numbers. There were only a dozen or so members but police documented more than 50 other people who hung out with Second Line. While the gang was new to detectives, its reputed leader was not. Tunstall and his family had been on the police radar for years and by the fall of 2006, most of Newtown knew the name of the gang -- and of the tall, gold-toothed teenager who would become its most recognizable member.
In December 2005, at the age of 15, Tunstall was branded a juvenile delinquent by state authorities -- the juvenile equivalent of being a convicted felon. A month later he was arrested after crashing a stolen ATV into a police car. Tunstall was wearing a dark ski mask -- the same kind of ski mask that became a trademark of Second Line in the summer of 2006, when the gang was suspected in a series of home invasion robberies.
Bill Warner Private Investigator, SEX, CRIME, CHEATERS & TERRORISM at www.wbipi.com.