Vendors, witnesses recall Venice hit-and-run horror

LOS ANGELES The boardwalk at Venice Beach is usually a bustling destination for tourists and locals who come to shop and eat, or just people-watch. It was crowded Saturday evening when witnesses say the unthinkable occurred: A driver slammed into people, killing one woman and injuring 11 others.

A surveillance camera captured the moment a driver appeared to deliberate mowed down pedestrians. People rushed to help the injured amid the ensuing chaos.

One man told CBS Station KCBS, "The guy just started barreling down, people started screaming, and we just parted like the Red Sea."

One woman described the scene as "Horrific. There were people flying everywhere. It looked like something out of a movie."

Just moments before the rampage began, surveillance video captured the suspect, 38-year-old Nathan Campbell, stopping and surveying the boardwalk, before climbing back into his car. He steered around a vehicle barrier and accelerated through the crowd.

The driver knocked over two mannequins and an ATM and started hitting people, swerving from side to side and often running straight into victims. Video showed the car struck at least three vendors — a fortune teller, a couple selling jewelry and a woman who does tattooing.

Witnesses said the car was traveling at about 35 to 40 mph along the boardwalk.

John Drolette was on vacation; he watched in horror as the driver plowed through people for more than 100 yards.

"He took out the two people who work in the tent, and he hit the woman that was shopping at the tent and he knocked her up on the hood," he told CBS News. "And he went over and across the promenade and he hit two more venders, and then he swerved his car all the way down and he kept hitting people all the way down."

Drolette said the driver appeared to aim for people. "I believe he was, from what I saw," he said. "I cannot speak to what was his frame of mind, but I'm telling you what I saw. People moved out of the way, and he drove to hit 'em."

Saturday's hit-and-run killed an Italian woman on her honeymoon and hurt 11 others who only a moment earlier had been enjoying a late afternoon near the beach at the height of vacation season.

The injured ranged in age from 19 to 75, reports CBS Station KCBS.

The driver eventually turned up a side street and headed away from the ocean. The car was later found abandoned less than two miles away, police said.

Campbell later walked into a police station in neighboring Santa Monica and said he was involved. He remained jailed Sunday on $1 million bail.

The Los Angeles Times reported Monday that Campbell may be a transient, originally from Colorado, who was living in his car.

Police declined to discuss a motive, but Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese said there was no indication that the attack was a terrorist act or that anyone else was involved.

Louisa Hodge described to The Associated Press a scene in which "blocks and blocks of people [were] just strewn across the sidewalk."

People were "stumbling around, blood dripping down their legs, looking confused not knowing what had happened, people screaming," Hodge said.