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Toddler killed in traffic dispute

HESPERIA, Calif., Aug. 2 -- Authorities say a traffic dispute in Hesperia, Calif., has resulted in the death of a 2-year-old boy who was shot to death while riding in a car with his parents and sister. San Bernardino County sheriff's officials say Robert Xavier James was killed Friday night after the occupant of a nearby vehicle sprayed a volley of bullets into the family car, hitting the toddler in the head.

James' father, who was driving the family car, apparently tried to change lanes when the driver of a dark Chevy Camaro cut in front of him and began 'taunting' him by speeding up and slowing down and blocking him from passing. A few minutes later, authorities say one of the two occupants in the vehicle leaned out the window and fired five or six shots into the James's vehicle but didn't hit anyone. Moments later, the gunman fired an additional seven shots at the James family, striking the toddler in the head. The 2-year-old had been sitting in a child restraint seat in the left rear side of the car. No one else was hurt. The toddler's father lost control of the vehicle and came to a stop while the Camaro kept driving. When the family realized the boy had been shot, they drove to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Authorities are asking for the public's help in finding the occupants of the vehicle, described only as two white males. Anyone with information is being asked to call the sheriff's anonymous hotline at 1- 800-78-CRIME. ---

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Copyright 1997 by United Press International. All rights reserved. ---

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