Saturday, April 23, 2011
SUNDAY APRIL 24th 2011....James Kouzaris and James Cooper gunned down in Newtown; DEVASTATED couple told "News Of The World" last night how they discovered the bodies of two British tourists gunned down in a Florida ghetto - just feet from their front door. Carlos Martinez, 28, and his girlfriend Gina McKinney, 32, heard shots ring out as they listened to music in the early hours.
They went outside and found James Kouzaris, 24, and James Cooper, 25, lying in pools of blood, surrounded by spent cartridges. Kouzaris was curled up by the front wheels of Carlos's car. His pal was across the road. Both were dead. Last night Carlos said: "They must have seen the lights on in the house and were running towards us for help. "It really hurts me that they didn't get here as if they had reached the door I'd have let them in and they'd still be alive." Police are investigating how Kouzaris and Cooper ended up on the Newtown estate in Sarasota at 2:56 a.m...MORE FROM THIS SOURCE
British tourists James Cooper and James Kouzaris shot dead in Florida may have been lured into an ambush after being driven to the crime plagued area of Newtown, Sarasota police believe.
1). Saturday April 16, 1:23 a.m. last known images of British tourists James Cooper, 25, and James Kouzaris, 24, are taken by a security camera at Smokin' Joes bar on Main Street Sarasota.
2). Saturday April 16, 2:10 a.m. police believe the pair, James Cooper, 25, and James Kouzaris, 24, are last seen at the Gator Club on Main Street Sarasota where there is always a cab parked outside the Bar, no need to walk anywhere.
3). Saturday April 16, 2:56 a.m. Calls to 911 report that Cooper and Kouzaris are lying dead on a street in The Courts Public Housing neighborhood gunned down by black thug Shawn Tyson.
IS THIS WHY THE FLORIDA BRITONS WERE KILLED? THE downtown area of Sarasota where James Cooper and James Kouzaris spent their final hours will be familiar to thousands of British holidaymakers. It’s an easy-going place where visitors and locals mingle in the cluster of bars and restaurants.
Above all it’s a safe district where the most police have to deal with is the occasional outbreak of rowdiness, fuelled by a few too many beers combined with the region’s legendary all-year-round sunshine. Head directly north through Sarasota’s grid-patterned streets, however, and the atmosphere changes for the worse. First there’s the city’s business centre, then the offices give way to smart homes. After a mile and- a-half you’ll reach Newtown. By day the atmosphere is unwelcoming, at night it’s downright dangerous and considered a no-go area for outsiders.
Shawn Tyson, a dysfunctional teenager who reportedly has the street nickname Young Savage tattooed across his chest, has been charged with the killing of the two Britons. Newtown is a district that one man in Sarasota knows better than most. Bill Warner is a veteran private investigator who has called this area his patch for almost 20 years. “It’s horrible,” he says. “At any time of day there are drug deals being done and guys acting as spotters on the look out for police. There is a lot of crime and it’s not a nice place to be. You don’t go there at night, period. If I have to do surveillance work in Newtown I always carry a weapon.”
Bill Warner has his own theory, that the friends may have been the victims of a honey-trap, deliberately lured there by women. Police have traced two women seen on CCTV talking for 37 minutes to the Britons in Smokin’ Joe’s bar in the hours leading up to the shootings. Detectives stress they are not suspects but there’s still a gap between that time and the men leaving the downtown area.
Bill Warner says: “In my opinion this was a set-up. They were enticed there and the motive was robbery. Earlier in the bars around Main Street they were going from table to table talking to women. The kid the police have charged (SHAWN TYSON) is just a goon, a high school dropout. He is not the brains of this operation. They probably got shot because they ran or resisted.
“The area where these guys died is off the beaten track. You don’t just wander in there (on foot). I’m sure they were driven there.” Witness reports suggest that a gang of masked men were lying in wait for the Britons. The shootings have caused shock in Sarasota where, the mayor points out, there hasn’t been a murder this year. Officials are nervous about the impact on tourism. There’s huge pressure to secure a conviction and reassure would-be visitors that this was just a tragic, one-off incident.
Recently a crackdown on crime in Newtown was spearheaded by Peter Abbott, a no-nonsense police chief recruited from New York. However he left his post controversially last year amid claims he wasn’t doing enough to build bridges with ethnic groups in north Sarasota.
“It’s ridiculous because he was doing a good job,” says Warner, who fears the investigation to catch other culprits in the murders will be hampered by a wall of silence. Police have released CCTV images from the bars and a transcript of an emergency call made by a woman who saw the victims following the shootings. In the call she can be heard saying: “We saw a white dude laying, there is blood everywhere. He is laid out. I don’t know if he is dead or not.”
Despite numerous shots being fired police have said they received only one emergency 911 call. Bill Warner says: “In Newtown there is a no snitching rule. You don’t talk to the cops. The police will get little help from the community.” The Second Line Gang is the most notorious. It took street violence to a new level in Newtown, where people call each other by nicknames from childhood and families go back several generations.
In an eight-month period a few years ago the gang, which took its name from the lyrics of a rap song, was blamed for killing six people, doubling the city’s murder rate. The callousness of some of the killings shows the disregard for life among these hardened criminals. Gang members shot and killed a grocery clerk over a $300 gold chain, killed a dental assistant driving by a robbery and in the middle of the day in a crowded parking lot gunned down a US marine reservist outside a convenience store.
However a sustained police operation led to several leaders being jailed in OCT 2010, supposedly weakening the gang’s influence in Newtown which is one of the poorest areas of Southwest Florida...MORE FORM THIS SOURCE
Bill Warner Private Investigator, SEX, CRIME, CHEATERS & TERRORISM at http://www.wbipi.com/