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Man shot dead while camping with family in Malibu Creek State Park

Man shot dead while camping with family in Malibu Creek State Park
Shown is the start of the Yearling Trail at Malibu Creek State Park in Calabasas. (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

A man was shot to death while camping with his family at Malibu Creek State Park in the Calabasas area early Friday, and detectives are seeking to identify the assailant, officials said.

The victim was camping with his two young girls, ages 2 and 4, when he was shot at least once in the upper torso, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Rodney Moore said.

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He said the children were not hurt in the shooting.

“The theory we are working with is he was shot inside the tent,” Moore said. “The children were inside the tent, too.

“We are working this as a homicide at this point,” he said. “We are gathering evidence. ... It will take some time.”

The shooting occurred inside the popular Malibu Creek State Park campground in an area well traveled by hikers and day trekkers, officials said.

Deputies from the sheriff’s Lost Hills station responded to a report of shots fired in the 1900 block of Las Virgenes Road in Calabasas about 4:45 a.m. When deputies arrived, they found the victim, Moore said.

Moore said the man was pronounced dead at the scene. As of Friday afternoon, detectives had not identified the assailant or a motive for the shooting.

The man’s family members were taken to the Lost Hills station to be interviewed by investigators. Detectives assisted by deputies and forensic technicians scoured the area in and around the family’s tent Friday.

Scent dogs from the Sheriff’s Department searched the area Friday afternoon for clues. The campground itself remained closed to the public.

Malibu Creek State Park is four miles south of Highway 101 and is known to millions around the world as the backdrop for the TV series MASH,” as well as the movies “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and the original “Planet of the Apes.” Its 15 miles of hiking trails set among 8,200 scenic acres are a well-known destination spot for Angelenos on weekends.

5:35 p.m.: This article was updated with additional details about the shooting.

This article was originally posted at 2:40 p.m.

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