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Deputies again comb Malibu Creek State Park in search for evidence in string of shootings

Deputies again comb Malibu Creek State Park in search for evidence in string of shootings
Members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department search Malibu Creek State Park in connection with the arrest of Anthony Rauda on Oct. 10. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Seeking more evidence in a string of shootings in and around Malibu Creek State Park, Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies and search and rescue personnel again scoured the trails and brush Wednesday.

The search came as homicide detectives await ballistic testing to determine whether a man who was carrying a rifle when he was arrested by investigators seeking a burglary suspect is tied to the fatal shooting of Tristan Beaudette in June.

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“They are doing due diligence and searching for additional evidence,” a Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said. “Deputies and search and rescue [crews] with experience in the area combed it.”

Anthony Rauda, 42, was arrested last week after searchers spent days looking for him in the wilderness area. Authorities are investigating whether he is responsible for a string of burglaries in the area over the last three months and several others dating to 2016.

Officials are testing the weapon Rauda had when he was arrested to determine whether it is linked to shootings in and around the park. Nishida said Wednesday that final results are not back on the ballistics tests.

Beaudette, a research scientist from Irvine, was camping with his two young daughters when he was fatally shot in his tent before dawn.

The June 22 slaying has baffled investigators. At first, it seemed like an isolated incident. But then officials acknowledged they knew of at least seven other shooting reports in the area in the last two years.

James Rogers was hiking the Backbone Trail and was asleep in a hammock in Tapia Park, just south of Malibu Creek State Park, when he was struck by birdshot from a shotgun on Nov. 3, 2016. Rogers said he needed surgery to remove the pellets.

“I heard a loud bang and then felt a burning sensation in my arm and fell to the ground,” he said. “Before I could look at my wound, I did a quick check of the perimeter and I saw nothing.”

Meliss Tatangelo was camping in her Honda when she heard a loud noise about 5 a.m. in January 2017. She and another camper did not go outside, but she later found part of an ammunition round lodged in the back of her car. She reported the incident to authorities, she noted on her Facebook page.

She wrote that she believed a shotgun was fired from about 20 feet away and that if the line of fire had been an inch higher, she would have been struck as she slept.

Rauda was booked on suspicion of violating parole and is being held without bail. He has a criminal history of burglary and weapons violations, authorities said.

The string of break-ins in Calabasas and Malibu occurred between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. In each incident, food was stolen. The latest break-in occurred in the early-morning hours of Oct. 9 when a man smashed the front glass door of the Agoura Hills/Calabasas Community Center.

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