Man Charged With Murder In Venice Beach Boardwalk Rampage

By: CBS News/AP (Posted by Melissa Brunner)
By: CBS News/AP (Posted by Melissa Brunner)
Prosecutors Tuesday said Nathan Louis Campbell maneuvered around a vehicle barrier early Saturday evening and plowed into tourists and vendors, killing 32-year-old Alice Gruppioni.

CBS News

LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) A transient from Colorado has been charged with murder and assault for allegedly driving his Dodge Avenger down Los Angeles' Venice Beach boardwalk, killing an Italian tourist on her honeymoon and injuring 16 others.

If convicted, Nathan Louis Campbell faces up to life in prison.

Prosecutors Tuesday said Campbell maneuvered around a vehicle barrier early Saturday evening and plowed into tourists and vendors, killing 32-year-old Alice Gruppioni.

Campbell, 38, is scheduled to be arraigned later Tuesday. He is charged murder and 16 counts of assault with a deadly weapon and 17 counts of hit-and-run.

Gruppioni's new husband, Christian Casadei, was at her side. He suffered minor injuries.

"About our love, you cannot say more than it will remain a dream from which we will never wake," he said.

CBS Los Angeles reported a fundraiser and vigil was held for Gruppioni on the Venice Beach Boardwalk Monday.

In a statement Monday, Casadei called his wife "an immense gift: a gift that no one can ever understand. She gave happiness and joy to anyone who had the luck to know her.

One person was critically injured and two others were taken to hospitals in serious condition. The 13 others all received less severe injuries.

Little is known about Campbell, who is being held on $1 million bail. No relatives or close friends have emerged since the incident to talk about him, and police have revealed scant details. He has no fixed address or employment.

Campbell appears to have deeper ties to Colorado, where he lived as recently as last year. He was evicted from his apartment in Denver for not paying $655 in rent in March 2012, records show.

He was sentenced to five days in jail after pleading guilty to shoplifting at a Denver supermarket in February 2009. Five months later, he was accused of trespassing at an outdoor mall in Denver and sentenced to 10 days in jail, court records show.

Alice Gruppioni, an Italian tourist, was killed in Venice Beach when a car plowed into a crowd of people. She was on her honeymoon.

Police said Campbell initially parked outside a hotel and surveyed the boardwalk, where hundreds of people were sitting at cafes, walking along the seashore or shopping for jewelry, art or other items at vending stands.

Surveillance video showed a driver getting into the Dodge, steering around a vehicle barrier and careening through the crowd.

Two mannequins and an ATM were knocked down as the car started hitting people. It swerved from side to side, hitting vendors, jewelry sellers, a fortune teller and a tattoo artist.

Witnesses said the car was traveling at least 35 mph. It later turned up on a side street less than 2 miles away.

An autopsy by the Los Angeles County coroner concluded Gruppioni died from blunt-force trauma to the head and neck. Her death has been classified as a homicide.

A makeshift boardwalk memorial for Gruppioni continued to grow Monday, with mourners placing a note in Italian expressing condolences and a painting that reads, "Venice loves you, Alice."

Gruppioni was a general manager for the family business that makes radiators. Her father, Valerio Gruppioni, runs the company and was formerly president of the Bologna soccer team, according to Italian news agency LaPresse.

Gruppioni's aunt said that hours before her niece was killed, she shared stories of her honeymoon travels by phone with her parents in Italy.

© 2013 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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