Twice in the last week, Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies have responded to reports of shots fired near the Malibu Creek State Park area where there have been at least seven prior shootings, including the killing of a father who was camping with his two young daughters.
The Malibu Creek State Park campground has remained closed since Tristan Beaudette, a scientist who worked in pharmaceuticals, was fatally shot in the head June 22 inside his tent while camping with his 2- and 4-year-old daughters.
Deputies responded to the shots-fired calls last Monday morning in the area and Thursday near Las Virgenes and Piuma roads shortly after 10 p.m., officials said.
Nicole Nishida, a Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman, said deputies did not find evidence of a shooting in either report or locate the source. Deputies blocked off the area during the investigation. Sheriff’s officials have stepped up patrols in the area in recent weeks.
The Malibu City Council had advised residents to avoid the general area in early hours of the morning and offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the killing.
Sheriff’s homicide detectives have remained tight-lipped about the circumstances of Beaudette’s killing. L.A. County coroner officials said he was killed by a gunshot to the head, but sheriff’s homicide investigators have requested that the full details of the medical examiner’s findings be kept under wraps.
“Detectives are trying to keep some of the aspects of the wound confidential and preserve the integrity of the case,” Nishida said.
The Sheriff’s Department said three of the prior shootings occurred in its jurisdiction, and the other four were in the state park’s jurisdiction. The incidents occurred between 2016 and this month.
Detectives are working with officials from the California State Parks Department to compare any similar incidents that have occurred within Malibu Creek State Park.
A young man hiking the Backbone Trail and sleeping overnight in a hammock in Tapia Park, just south of Malibu Creek State Park, was struck by birdshot from a shotgun on Nov. 3, 2016.
James Rogers said he needed surgery to remove the pellets that hit him.
“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.
“I sleep with my arm up by my head, and I suspect I was shot at close range,” he told The Times in a recent interview.
Rogers said there had been no headway in the investigation of his shooting. He said he was not sleeping in a formal campground and was about 200 yards from Malibu Canyon Road when he was shot in his right arm.
“I was told by those working out there, there have been several other shootings,” he said.
Meliss Tatangelo was camping in her Honda when she heard a loud noise around 5 a.m. in January 2017. She and another camper did not go outside, but she later found part of an ammunition round in the back of her car where she had been sleeping. She reported the incident to authorities, she noted on her Facebook page.
She wrote that she believes a shotgun was fired from about 20 feet away and if the line of fire had been an inch higher, she would have been struck as she slept.
The last shooting occurred four days before Beaudette was fatally shot. On June 18, a Tesla vehicle was shot at on Malibu Canyon Road in the early hours of the morning, with part of the round embedded in the car.