Final moments of Sheffield students killed in US shooting

Kouzaris (left) and Cooper (right) were shot while on holiday

Details of the final moments of two University of Sheffield graduates shot dead in Florida earlier this year have been released in US police files.

The bodies of James Cooper, 25, and James Kouzaris, 24, who studied Management, and Urban Studies Planning respectively, were found in the Newtown area of the city of Sarasota, an area infamous for gang crime on April 16.

Local gang member Shawn Tyson, 16, has been accused of murdering the graduates.

Investigators have pieced together the events that took place that night, which now offer an explanation as to why the Brits wondered miles away from the resort they were staying in.

The files reveal the two men left the Gator Club in Sarasota at 01.45am. with Kouzaris “too drunk to sit upright,” according to a member of the bar staff.

They were seen on CCTV cameras several times walking towards Newtown, and the last sighting of them was at 02.45am when a witness saw them walking topless through the Courts Housing Project where Tyson lived.

The witness told the police that they saw two black men “hunkered down in the darkness”, before following the two tourists. The men confronted Cooper and Kouzaris demanding money and then shot them.

When the pair said they had no cash, he said: “Well, since you ain’t got no money, then I got something for your ass.”

The police files show that Tyson bragged to friends about the killings.

It emerged that Diandrew Clarkson, a co-defendant in another case with Tyson, allegedly told police that Tyson said: “Yeah, I got two under my belt.”

Tyson will appear in court next week, charged with first degree murder, for which the punishment is either death by lethal injection or a life sentence in prison.


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