A man has been charged with one count of murder and several counts of attempted murder following multiple shootings in Malibu Creek State Park, including the June 22, 2018, murder of Tristan Beaudette, a father of two camping with his daughters at the park.
The suspect, Anthony Rauda, 42, made local headlines in 2018 when he was arrested on suspicion of a string of burglaries at businesses near the state park. At the time, many speculated Rauda could be connected to Beaudette’s murder, but those suspicions were unsubstantiated until the Monday, Jan. 7, announcement from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office.
On June 22, Beaudette, who lived in Irvine, Calif. and held a PhD in chemistry from UC Berkeley, was shot and killed while inside his tent at the park. He was reportedly on the camping trip with the two girls, ages two and four, to give his wife a chance to study for an important exam. The girls, who were also in the tent at the time of the shooting, were not injured.
After Beaudette’s murder, information began to surface of several other shooting incidents in the park, none of which had resulted in serious injury. This led many to believe the incidents were connected; that belief was supported by Rauda’s list of charges, announced by the DA on Monday.
“Anthony Rauda … was charged [with] one count of murder, 10 counts of attempted murder and five counts of second-degree burglary,” according to a release from the DA’s office, which later stated, “Rauda is accused of opening fire on unsuspecting campers or motorists dating back to November 2016 when he allegedly wounded a man who was sleeping in a hammock in the Malibu State Park area. Less than a week later, he allegedly fired into the sleeping area of a vehicle. Rauda also is accused of shooting into vehicles on three different occasions in 2017. No one was injured. The defendant allegedly shot at a Tesla on Las Virgenes Road on June 18, 2018. Four days later, he is accused of killing Tristan Beaudette, 35, who was shot and killed while in a tent with his two daughters in Malibu Creek State Park. His children were not injured.”
New Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Rauda was not believed to have known any of his targets over the two years he was known to have been shooting in Malibu Creek.
The attacks were “all random, targets of opportunity,” Villanueva was quoted as saying in the LA Times.
Rauda was arraigned on Monday, Jan. 7, at Los Angeles County Superior Court, Van Nuys Branch. His bail was set at $1.1 million.
The Malibu Creek State Park campground has been closed since June 22 and, although many still visit the park’s day use areas, there has been well-publicized fear among some in the community over whether the park was safe. This fear was touched on in a statement provided by State Senator Henry Stern, who represents Malibu in Sacramento.
“Today’s charges bring us one step closer to a renewed sense of safety—and for that, we have our local law enforcement to thank,” Stern said. “Our community deserves to feel secure and be secure. We look forward to continuing our work alongside local authorities to see this through to the end.”
In October, a string of burglaries near the park led to a massive, days-long manhunt that resulted in Rauda’s arrest. The scope of the manhunt and lengthy investigation that followed led to initial speculation that authorities were looking for evidence linking the suspected burglar to the shooting incidents.
The LA Times wrote, “Sheriff’s investigators had been closing in on Rauda in the weeks leading up to his capture, Villanueva said. Detectives found video footage of him committing a burglary in the area, and also captured images of him carrying the rifle he was later arrested with, the sheriff said.” The rifle matched the one used in a number of the shootings in the park.