Man Killed While Camping with Daughters at Malibu Creek State Park

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The victim (right), 35-year-old Tristan Beaudette, with his wife (upper left) and two daughters

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau is investigating the death of 35-year-old Tristan Beaudette, who was shot at Malibu Creek State Park on Friday, June 22, at approximately 4:44 a.m. 

Beaudette was shot in the head, according to case detail from the LA County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner, and died at the scene a short time after.

He had been camping in a tent with his two daughters, ages two and four, at the park campground when the shooting occurred. 

“Also inside of the tent—I don’t know if I mentioned he was located inside a tent—also in his tent at the time of the incident were two children, both female, two and four years old. They were not injured,” Lt. Rodney Moore, a homicide investigator with the LA County Sheriff’s Department, described in a phone call with The Malibu Times.

LA County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner spokesperson Ed Winter confirmed that the victim was “pronounced [dead] at the scene at 5:21 a.m.” The autopsy was not complete by the time The Malibu Times went to print Tuesday evening.

Moore confirmed the girls were taken to Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station for interviews with the county’s homicide bureau detectives after the shooting.

In the meantime, all overnight camping at Malibu Creek State Park has been suspended “until further notice,” per an emailed statement from California Department of Parks and Recreation Deputy Director of Public Affairs Gloria Sandoval.

Campground reservations have been cancelled in the interim; campers are being contacted and refunded. The statement stated, however, “Day-use areas at the park will remain open.” 

California State Parks Angeles District Superintendent Craig Sap confirmed that additional staff were onsite to help monitor park activity.

When asked about a total park closure, Sap said, “With Malibu Creek, it’s such a large park. It’s difficult to do any closures even if we wanted to.” 

According to reports, Beaudette lived in Irvine, Calif. With a Ph.D. in chemistry from UC Berkeley, he was known for his skills as a chemist; on social media, the Ainslie lab at University of North Carolina shared, “… Tristan was an exceptional father, and chemist – one of the inventors of Ac-DEX. He will be missed.” 

A GoFundMe page for the “Tristan Beaudette Memorial Fund” was set up on behalf of Beaudette’s wife, Erica. It received an outpouring of comments and condolences from people around the country, raising more than five times more than the original $25,000 goal in just two days.

According to the page, the family was in the process of relocating to the Bay Area. To donate, visit gofundme.com/tristan-beaudette-family-fund.

No motive or suspect information has been released by the LA County Sheriff’s Department, which is asking for the public’s help in the case. Several media outlets have connected the homicide to previous incidents in the area. 

“As part of their investigation, detectives are reviewing three prior shooting incidents within the past 12 months occurring nearby within the jurisdiction of the Sheriff’s Department,” an emailed statement from LASD said.

It also stated Malibu/Lost Hills Station had “previously increased patrols in the areas nearby the prior incidents, and has canvassed the surrounding residences in an effort to maintain a highly visible presence in the vicinity to ensure public safety.”

In a shared statement from Monday, June 25, the LASD Homicide Bureau clarified, “However, there is no evidence that suggests this incident is related to prior shootings near the location.” 

Most recently, sheriffs discovered the body of 52-year-old Francisco Reynaldo Cruz at the 1600 block of Las Virgenes Road, near the Malibu Hindu Temple, on May 16. An autopsy report revealed that Cruz had died from “sharp force injuries” to the chest and neck, as well as from a “blunt force injury to the head.” 

The incident was ruled a homicide. According to the sheriff’s department, the victim was not killed at the location, but instead dropped there.

Anyone with information about the Malibu Creek State Park homicide is advised to contact the LA County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau at 323.890.5500.

Emily Sawicki contributed to this report.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect autopsy results.