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14 April 2024

Man charged in California camper's death; 10 other shootings


An ex-convict has been charged with killing a father who was camping with his daughters in a Southern California park and trying to kill the girls and eight other campers and drivers since 2016, prosecutors said Monday.

Anthony Rauda, 42, was charged in Los Angeles County Superior Court with one count of murder, 10 counts of attempted murder and five counts of burglary in connection with a rash of shootings and break-ins near Malibu Creek State Park.

Rauda is accused of shooting Tristan Beaudette, 35, to death in the tent he shared with his young daughters on June 18 in the park. The girls, ages 2 and 4, were not injured but are considered victims of attempted murder and listed in a criminal complaint as Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2.

The popular campground and park 30 miles (48 kilometers) west of downtown Los Angeles was closed temporarily after the killing. Much of the park, which has served as a filming location for movies and TV shows such as "M.A.S.H.," was charred in recent wildfires.

Fear spread when authorities acknowledged after the slaying that several shootings had occurred in the area and other victims came forward to report they had been shot at.

Rauda was arrested in October after sheriff's deputies spotted him on a ridgetop dressed in black and carrying a rifle in his backpack. They had been searching on foot and by helicopter for an armed burglar who had broken into businesses and homes and stolen food.

Rauda was sent back to jail last month on a probation violation on gun and ammunition charges.

But the investigation remained open as authorities looked into whether he was connected to the mysterious shootings. They date to November 2016, when a wildlife biologist was struck in the arm while sleeping in a hammock near the park.

Rauda is now charged in the hammock shooting that wounded James Rogers and in opening fire days later on someone sleeping in a car. He is accused of shooting at three other cars in 2017.

Four days before Beaudette was killed, Rauda shot at a Tesla near the park, prosecutors said.

He was brought into court in a wheelchair Monday, but his arraignment was postponed until Jan. 22. At a previous court appearance, he wore a mesh hood to prevent him from spitting or biting.

A public defender representing Rauda didn't immediately return phone and email messages seeking comment.