Friends Pay Tribute To Florida Shooting Victim

26 April 2011, 15:56 | Updated: 26 April 2011, 16:12

Close friends of James Kouzaris have paid tribute to the Northampton man who died following a shooting incident in Sarasota in Florida.

They issued this statement sent to Heart through Northamptonshire Police: 
"There are scraps of paper lying on the grass filled with anecdotes and stories. Condensing every tale, joke and quote into this tribute is impossible. Even with ten of your closest friends trying.
"We have friendship group stronger and funnier than any other. You were, and still are, integral to that. Don't worry, you can be sure you'll still be the butt of our jokes and banter!
"We promise your death will not be in vain. We are going to make you so proud and ensure your contagious smile shines on forever.
"Wour motto was 'be your own person', which is ironic because none of us will ever be our own person again. You will stay with us forever, and we live our lives for you.
"You were so fortunate to have seen the world. Travelling was infectious for you. You set off for your own fulfilment, not realising you'd leave a mark on everyone you'd meet.
"You're the only person who, given one month to live, wouldn't have done anything differently. In less than 25 years, you have experienced more than most people would in their lifetime.
"We're so grateful that the last thing you ever did for us was bring us closer together, something we didn't believe was possible.
"Everyone knows your timekeeping was always terrible, and this is your worst yet. Rest in peace, our friend, our brother."

The bodies of 24 year old James Kouzaris and 25 year old James Cooper, from Warwick, were found in a crime-riddled area of the Gulf coast city early on Saturday 16 April 2011.

Shawn Tyson, 16, who lives close to the murder scene, is being held on suspicion of double murder.

Police said the teenager would be charged as an adult over the two murders, which means he could face the death penalty if convicted.

Tyson was previously arrested on April 7 for aggravated assault with a handgun - reportedly blasting gunfire into a car.

Mr Kouzaris, from Northampton, was on a three-week holiday in Florida with Mr Cooper and his family, from Warwick. Mr Cooper turned 25 three days before the killings.