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Investigators Stumped In Scientist's Mysterious Killing At Calabasas Campground

CALABASAS (CBSLA) – Investigators are asking for the public's help in solving the mysterious case of a 35-year-old Irvine scientist who was shot and killed while camping with his two young daughters at Malibu Creek State Park in Calabasas last week.

Tristan Beaudette
Tristan Beaudette, 35, right, was shot and killed while camping with his daughters at Malibu Creek State Park on June 22, 2018. (credit: the Beaudette family)

Tristan Beaudette, a chemist, was shot in the early morning hours of June 22 at a campsite near the 1900 block of Las Virgenes Road.

Deputies responded to reports of gunfire to find Beaudette in his tent with a gunshot wound to the upper torso. He died at the scene. He had been camping with his daughters, ages 2 and 4. Neither were hurt.

Authorities are still unsure if the shooting was intentional or random. No suspects have been identified.

Beaudette's brother, 37-year-old Dylan Beaudette, told Radar Online Monday that a second bullet tore through the top of Tristan's tent, suggesting that the shooting may have been random in nature, and that the shooter was firing horizontally.

"It could've been someone firing from a nearby road," Dylan told Radar Online. "We don't know. But the only thing we do know, I think I know, it was the action of an irresponsible person who didn't take time to think about what they were doing."

At least two cars have been hit by gunfire in recent months in Malibu Canyon, near where Beaudette was killed. Sheriff's homicide detectives said Monday they were aware of the reports, one of which involved a woman who posted video of a bullet hole in her vehicle along with photo of a shotgun slug that she said pierced the tailgate as she slept inside.

Malibu Creek State Park Campsites Closed After Father Mysteriously Killed In Shooting
Los Angeles County Sheriff's investigators at the scene of a man's fatal shooting at a campsite in Malibu Creek State Park. June 22, 2018. (CBS2)

A Simi Valley woman and her boyfriend had been sleeping in their car's cargo area in January of 2017 when it was hit by a large shotgun slug.

Meliss Tatangelo says they were awakened by a "large thump" about 5 a.m., but went back to sleep. Later that morning, they discovered a bullet hole in the back hatch area, and a large shotgun slug rolling around inside the cargo area.

Tatangelo said in a Facebook posting that she drove back to the park, called rangers, and had them examine the bullet hole and slug. She said the rangers told her that the slug had been fired at close range into the car.

In a statement released Monday, Deputy Joana Warren said "homicide detectives are aware there have been other shootings near the location in the past. However, there is no evidence that suggests this incident is related to any prior shootings near the location. The investigation is ongoing and there is no further information that will be released."

Beaudette had a PhD in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. His wife is a doctor. Friends told CBS2 Beaudette took the girls camping so that Erica could study for a big test.

At least 60 campsites in Malibu Creek State Park have been closed since the shooting occurred. Hiking trails in the area will remain open.

On May 16, the body of a man was found in a ditch the 1600 block of Las Virgenes Canyon Road, across the road from Malibu Creek and near the Malibu Hindu Temple. The coroner's office reported that Francisco Reynaldo Cruz, 52, of Los Angeles, had been killed by "sharp force injuries" to the chest and neck, as well as from a "blunt force injury to the head." Sheriff's deputies told Malibu radio station KBUU last week that Cruz had been killed somewhere else, and dumped in the isolated canyon.

Anyone with information on either killing should call LASD at 323-890-5500.

(©2018 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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