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Man slain after killing wife, shooting at deputy

Compiled from Times wires
Published September 3, 2003

BRADENTON - A dinner table quarrel erupted into the fatal shooting of a woman by her husband, who himself was fatally shot after he fired his weapon at a sheriff's deputy, officials said.

Manatee County sheriff's officers said Peter Luckel Sr., 58, killed his wife Georgette Luckel, 49, around 7 p.m. Monday in their Gates Creek subdivision home in eastern Manatee. Their 13-year-old son witnessed the shooting.

Deputies went to the house in response to a 911 call and found Mrs. Luckel's body in the kitchen. Her husband was in a bedroom, and as Deputy Christine Thomason approached on a poolside lanai, Luckel fired at her through a doorway with his .357-caliber Magnum, missing her, officials said.

Thomason fired back once with her 9mm sidearm, hitting Luckel in the chest. He was flown to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg, where he died.

Thomason, an 111/2-year veteran of the force, was put on administrative leave with pay pending an investigation, which is routine in such shootings.

Georgette Luckel wrote out an affidavit against her husband two years ago, alleging long-term physical and verbal abuse, but later asked that her husband not be arrested and failed to keep an appointment with police on the case, officials said.

One killed, two hurt when car drives in front of train

GIFFORD - A man died and two people were injured when their car was struck by a freight train after the driver bypassed crossing arms that were lowering, officials said Tuesday.

The driver, Samuel Hunter, was not injured, but passenger Harold McKenzie, 43, of Vero Beach was killed in Monday night's accident, the Florida Highway Patrol said. Injured were Eldridge Holliday, 45, of Vero Beach, listed in fair condition Tuesday at Indian River Memorial Hospital, and Rose Harris, 35, of Vero Beach, at Holmes Regional Medical Center, condition unknown.

FHP officials said alcohol was a factor in the accident, but no one had been charged Tuesday. No one in the car was wearing seat belts.

Florida East Coast Railroad spokesman Husein Cumber said the 115-car train, from Jacksonville bound for Miami, was undamaged.

Gifford is about 50 miles north of West Palm Beach.

State toll of likely holiday drownings reaches eight

The deaths of two men in rip currents off Boca Raton Monday evening brought to eight the total of suspected drownings off Florida's beaches over the Labor Day weekend.

Rakesh Patel, 33, of Lake Worth, and Purav Patel, 25, of Coconut Creek, drowned in waters off Spanish River Park, police spokesman Jeff Kelly said.

Bystanders tried unsuccessfully to rescue the men, who were friends but not related.

Signs on the beach warned of dangerous conditions, including rip currents and choppy seas.

Also Monday, the body of Chrisoval Gomez, 16, of Mary Esther, washed up off the Panhandle. Gomez, a Mexican immigrant, was last seen swimming in the surf at Gulf Islands National Seashore Sunday afternoon.

Gomez was the fourth person to die in the surf at Escambia County beaches over the weekend.

- Bradenton Herald and wire reports

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