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Teens Held in Fla. Shooting Spree

May 2, 1998

HAINES CITY, Fla. (AP) _ Three teen-age boys in ski masks went on a shooting rampage, killing two and wounding seven other people, including five relatives who were gunned down in their motel room during a family reunion, authorities say.

The suspects, high school students ages 16 and 17, were arrested and charged late Thursday in the shootings and in a separate slaying on Sunday, investigators said.

Investigators said the motive was unclear. Nothing was taken from the victims.

One of the wounded, a 10-year-old girl shot in the motel room, was in critical condition. The others were in good condition.

The rampage took place in three central Florida communities.

The shootings began Thursday night when gunmen jumped from a car and opened fire on a couple who had stopped their car at a mailbox in Davenport. The driver was wounded.

Within about a hour, two people were reported shot in a vehicle at a stop sign in Dundee. Christy Large, 21, was killed, and another person in the car was wounded.

Around the same time, there was a knock on the door of a motel room door near Haines City, and a masked gunman opened fire on five family members from Hinesville, Ga. _ two girls, ages 10 and 15, and their mother, aunt and uncle. The family had just checked in for a reunion.

``He opened the door expecting to see relatives and was met by a hail of gunfire and was hit a couple of times,″ Sheriff Lawrence Crow said.

Ten-year-old Vickie Smith was shot in the head and chest as she lay on a bed.

Her wounded 15-year-old sister gave a description of the suspects’ vehicle, and deputies stopped a car around midnight. One teen-ager was arrested then, the two others later.

Sylathum Antwan Streeter, 16, Curtis Shuler 16, and Victor Lester 17, were charged with murder and attempted murder. They were also charged in the slaying Sunday of a man in Haines City near the entrance to a golf and tennis resort.

The State Attorney’s Office will decide if they will be tried as adults.

``We have a generation of kids with no conscience that shoot people down,″ Crow said.

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