Shawn Tyson, the 16-year-old arrested for the shooting of the two Britons James Cooper and James Kouzaris in Sarasota, Florida last week, had been detained for aggravated assault with a handgun less than three weeks before.

Sarasota Police Department confirmed that Shawn Tyson previously had been arrested on April 7 for another criminal act involving firearms.

Although Shawn Tyson only is 16-years-old, Captain Paul Sutton said the he would be charged as an adult for the murders of the two Britons.

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If convicted, this could mean that Tyson could face the death penalty.

Police are also investigating why Cooper and Kouzaris were in the Florida neighbourhood of Newtown, where they were killed, at that time of the night.

“We want to determine what would cause two people who are here on a vacation to travel to a residential neighbourhood at three o’clock in the morning, where there are no open businesses or bars, none of the things you would normally think might attract someone at that time of the day.

“We know they were having a night on the town. There’s some evidence they visited a couple of downtown establishments during the night before and in the early morning hours of the day they were killed.”