Sunday, August 4, 2013


Police arrest Nathan Campbell,38,in deadly LA boardwalk crash

Nathan Campbell, 38, is being held on $1 million bail on suspicion of murder after the Saturday driving attack that left 32-year-old Alice Gruppioni dead.

Car hits pedestrians on Venice Beach: Pedestrians scatter as a car drives through a crowd along the Venice Beach boardwalk in Los Angeles.
In a security cam image, pedestrians scatter as a car drives through a packed afternoon crowd along the Venice Beach boardwalk in Los Angeles.
LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles police have arrested a man on suspicion of intentionally driving into crowds at the Venice Beach boardwalk, killing a woman and injuring 11 others.

Police say 38-year-old Nathan Campbell has been booked for investigation of murder and remains jailed Sunday on $1 million bail.

He turned himself about two hours after the attack that occurred at around 6 p.m. Saturday. Investigators don't yet have a motive.

Witnesses reported a horrendous scene of people scattered and bloody in the popular tourist area.

Car plows into LA crowd, kills 1A coroner's investigator tells City News Service that the dead woman is 32-year-old Alice Gruppioni of Italy.
Police say another victim was critically hurt, two were in serious condition and others were treated for less serious injuries.

Security video taken from the scene of the Venice Beach boardwalk shows a man parking his black car, stepping out and surveying the leisurely scene for several minutes before getting back into the vehicle and speeding into the crowd. Hundreds of people were walking or sitting at cafes when the car sent them scrambling wildly before it sped out of sight.

Witnesses reported a horrifying aftermath.

Car hits pedestrians in LA: Pedestrians gather as police and fire officials respond after a car drove through a crowd along the Venice Beach boardwalk.People were "stumbling around, blood dripping down their legs, looking confused not knowing what had happened, people screaming," said Louisa Hodge, 35. 

She said there were "blocks and blocks of people just strewn across the sidewalk."

Injured people were taken to the hospital, where Gruppioni died.
Afterward, police began to circulate word that they were searching for a black Dodge with a driver in his 20s. 

Around that time, a man later identified as Campbell walked into a police station in neighboring Santa Monica and told officers he was involved, Los Angeles police Lt. Andy Neiman said Saturday night.

Police then found a car nearby that they believe belonged to Campbell, he said. Detectives questioned him to determine whether he was the driver.

Authorities at the scene, meanwhile, searched for evidence at the cultural hub in a part of Los Angeles known for eccentricities. 

The 1.5-mile ribbon of asphalt that runs along the sand a few hundred yards from the ocean is home to galleries, restaurants, tattoo shops, skateboard parks and the famous outdoor weight room known as Muscle Beach. It can draw as many as 150,000 people on summer weekends.

According to the security video and witness accounts, the driver parked next to the Cadillac Hotel, twice walking out to the boardwalk before getting into the Dodge Avenger and accelerating, swerving around yellow poles meant to prevent cars from getting into the pedestrian-only area and onto the boardwalk.
"I heard a big 'boom, boom,' like the sound of someone going up and down the curb, it was super loud," said Alex Hagan, 22, who was working the desk at the Cadillac Hotel and watched the scene unfold from the start.

The man knocked over two mannequins then started hitting people, swerving from side to side and often running straight into them.

The car hit at least three vendors who were sitting at their sales booths, video showed.

The vehicle hit two women who appeared to be in their 60s, Hagan said.

Many ran after the car, screaming and cursing as it sped away, he said.

Hodge said she and her friend, Ashley Taylor, 31, had made note of the numbers walking along the seaside.

"It was a really nice day, there were tons of people out, in fact, we were talking about how packed it was, because we were having a hard time getting through all the people," said Hodge.

The two women stepped into a store to buy a couple of hats, in a move that may have saved their lives. They stepped out to see the aftermath, as emergency crews arrived and started putting victims on tarps.

Hodge saw one man and woman lying next to each other, wearing head braces, barely able to move.

"They were just laying next to each other and grasping hands," Hodge said, "just a man and a woman holding hands."

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