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    Deputies seek clues in slaying of girl, 5

    ©Associated Press
    February 4, 2003

    LEESBURG -- Sheriff's deputies are asking for help in finding out who fatally shot a 5-year-old Leesburg girl during a weekend road rage incident.

    Marishka Lovett was killed and her grandmother, Sandra Vickson, lost part of a finger in the ambush-like shooting that resulted from a dispute that Marishka's father got into with the occupants of another car Saturday night, authorities said.

    Lt. Bobby Caruthers, spokesman for the Sumter County Sheriff's Office, said investigators are trying to determine who emerged from a parked pickup truck and fired shots at Tyrone Lovett's car at the end of Lovett's pursuit of another car that had cut him off.

    "We're hoping someone may have seen something," Caruthers said Monday. "We hope the public might have seen the vehicles chasing each other."

    Tyrone Lovett said he was driving with his daughter and mother-in-law in his Ford Escort Saturday night when he was cut off by a late-model, dark-colored Chevrolet Camaro or Pontiac Firebird on State Road 44 near Wildwood in Central Florida, Caruthers said.

    A two-county, 12-mile pursuit began as Lovett and the other driver took turns chasing each other, Caruthers said.

    Lovett told deputies the dark-colored car finally pulled over near two pickup trucks parked on County Road 466A, just west of the Lake County line. A man from one of the trucks then got out and started shooting at Lovett's car.

    Marishka Lovett was shot in the head. She died at Leesburg Regional Medical Center. Her grandmother, Sandra Vickson, 46, of Marianna, lost part of a finger. Tyrone Lovett, 30, was not hurt.

    -- Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at (352) 793-0222 or toll-free at 1-800-423-8477.

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