CALABASAS (CBSLA/CBS News) – Following a mysterious shooting last week which killed a 35-year-old Irvine man while he was camping at Malibu Creek State Park in Calabasas with his two young daughters, authorities confirmed to CBS News there have been at least four other unsolved shootings over the past two years at the same park.
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. Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies responded to find Beaudette in his tent with a gunshot wound. He died at the scene. He had been camping with his daughters, ages 2 and 4. Neither were hurt.
Sheriff's investigators initially said the 35-year-old was shot in the torso. But the Los Angeles Times now reports Beaudette was shot in the head.
Detectives confirm there have been three other shootings in the area, two from 2017 and one that happened just four days before Beaudette was killed.
James Rogers told CBS News Wednesday that he was sound asleep at a campsite in November 2016, about one mile from where Beaudette was killed, when a stinging pain jolted him awake at 3 a.m.
"I was trying to take my earphones out, I felt just kind of a stinging sensation in my arm," Rogers said. "I tried to get up and just fell right through the hammock down to the ground."
It wasn't until pellets starting falling out of his right arm that Rogers knew he had been shot. He showed CBS News the birdshot pellets.
"So they're a little bit smaller," Rogers said. "Three millimeter diameter BBs. But it shoots a hundred of them," Rogers said.
Rogers described his case to California State Parks, but said they never followed up with an official report. Nearly two years later, he doesn't think investigators ever took him seriously.
In January 2017, a Simi Valley woman and her boyfriend were sleeping in their car's cargo area in the park when their car was hit by a large shotgun slug.
Meliss Tatangelo says they were awakened by a "large thump" at 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.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles County Sheriff's investigators haven't said from which direction the gunfire came which killed Beaudette.
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."
LASD has increased deputy patrols in the area. About 60 campsites in Malibu Creek State Park have been closed indefinitely since the shooting occurred. Hiking trails in the area remain open.
California State Parks said they could not provide any further details about Rogers' case or any of the reported shootings citing the active investigation.
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.
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.
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