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Extra deputies patrolled the hallways of Hernando County high schools Monday in the wake of a beating death of a white teenager by a group of black youths.

"I can't put my finger on it," Brooksville Police Chief Ed Tincher said about the attitude of Brooksville residents. "It's kind of like the eye of the hurricane is passing over us now. We just hope that what comes next isn't as devastating as what we just went through."Black community leaders, police and school officials gathered at a special Hernando County School Board meeting Sunday and urged residents to remain calm. The board rejected a motion to impose a curfew for school-age youths.

Russell Coats, 19, was beaten to death early Saturday morning with clubs, boards and tire irons in a fight between about 20 black youths and about 20 white youths, police said. Tincher said Coats apparently was trying to break up the fight when he was killed in a mall parking lot some 40 miles north of Tampa.