Florida murders: teenager accused of killing two Britons linked with feared street gang

Shawn Tyson...handout image

The teenage gunman charged with murdering two British tourists in Florida is linked to a notorious street gang that terrorised the Sarasota neighbourhood for two years.

The nickname Young Savage tattooed across the chest of Shawn Tyson ties him to leaders of the Second Line gang that operated in the district of Sarasota where the Britons were shot dead, according to a local crime investigator.

The revelation of Tyson's apparent gang association will fuel anger over the blunders by prosecutors that led to his release from custody charged with an earlier gun attack just hours before James Cooper, 25, and James Kouzaris, 24, were killed. It will add to suggestions of a pattern of troubled and sometimes violent behaviour by Tyson, well before the incident for which he was arrested earlier this month.

It will also raise fresh suspicions of accomplices to the botched attempted robbery of the two young Britons, whose bodies were found 40 yards apart after shots rang out in the small hours of the morning.

More than a week after their killing, it remains unclear how and why the two university graduate friends, holidaying in the US and staying with Mr Cooper's parents on a beautiful barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, ended up in the grim Sarasota gang stronghold after a night of bar-hopping.

They were allegedly gunned down early last Saturday by Tyson, 16, a swaggering school dropout who had twice recently fired off shots in The Courts, a crime-ridden district, from a .38 calibre revolver, the suspected murder weapon.