Footage released of Britons before shooting

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The Independent US

Police in the Florida city of Sarasota have released stills from CCTV footage, showing two British tourists in a local bar hours before they were shot dead. However, detectives investigating the murders of 25-year-old James Cooper and James Kouzaris, 24, say the deaths of the two British tourists in the early hours of Saturday were not gang-related.

Mr Cooper, from Warwick, and Mr Kouzaris, from Northampton, were captured on camera in a bar, drinking and talking to other customers. The 11 stills released by police cover the period from 12.13am to 1.23am. Mr Cooper and Mr Kouzaris can be seen talking to two women for some 37 minutes in the bar.

The two Britons were later found shot dead in Newtown, an impoverished part of the city which has higher-than-average crime figures. It is located 12 miles from the island resort town of Longboat Key, where the two men were staying.

The Sarasota Police Department has also acted quickly to quell any suggestion that the 16-year-old boy charged with the murders is linked to any gang. Captain Paul Sutton of Sarasota Police said any claims made to the contrary were speculation.

"We are looking at the facts. There has been some speculation in the British press, but we are not going to take part in that," he said. However, he said that investigators had not ruled out the notion that there may have been more than one person involved in the crime.

Prosecutors say the youth, Shawn Tyson, will almost certainly be tried as an adult, meaning he could face the death penalty if convicted of the murders. It emerged on Monday that Mr Tyson was arrested on 7 April, reportedly for firing a gun into a car.