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LA horror: Aunt wants justice

2013-08-06 08:10


THE MOURNING AFTER... Flowers are added to a memorial for newlywed Alice Gruppioni at Venice Beach the day after she was killed by a hit-and-run driver. Inset: Aunt Katia Gruppioni.Image: AP


Dodge driver's deadly crash

2013-08-05 08:23

A 38-year-old man was charged with murder after allegedly slamming his car into tourists on California's Venice Beach boardwalk. The driver killed a pedestrian and injured 11 others.

LOS ANGELES, California - A man once jailed for shoplifting is in jail after allegedly running down a dozen people along a popular Los Angeles beachfront promenade - locally called "the boardwalk".

One of them died, an Italian tourist bride, was living her dream of honeymooning in California.

Little information was released about 38-year-old Nathan Louis Campbell, arrested for investigation of murder after he walked into a police station several hours after the rampage and allegedly said he was involved. Police said he "remained in custody on $1-million bail".


Court records show Campbell was sentenced to five days' jail after pleading guilty to shoplifting in Colorado in February 2009. Five months later he was accused of trespass at an outdoor mall in Denver, Colorado, and went back to jail for 10 days. He lived in Colorado at least as recently as 2012 but was evicted from his apartment in Denver for not paying $655 rent in March 2012.

Watch the video.

California authorities said nobody with his name and birth date had a state driving licence.

The bride who died in Saturday's rampage was 32-year-old Alice Gruppioni whose family said she was a businesswoman who never ceased to be a romantic girl dreaming about her bridal gown and meeting Prince Charming. A statement from the family said: "She was robbed of her life while living her dream visit to California with her husband - this was a tremendous injustice."

Gruppioni's aunt Katia Gruppioni told The Associated Press she demanded justice. "The only thing I want, that he is absolutely not set free. I don't want this person to be around."


Her niece was a general manager with 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.

The hit-and-run hurt 11 other people who moments earlier had been enjoying an afternoon of strolling and shopping along one of the top tourist attractions in Los Angeles. Police have not yet presented their case to prosecutors and declined to discuss a possible motive. However, deputy chief Kirk Albanese said there was no indication that anybody else was involved.

Here's how it happened...

• The driver of the car initially parked outside a hotel and surveyed what Angelinos call "the boardwalk", where hundreds of people were sitting at cafes, walking along the beach or shopping at vending stands.

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

• Two mannequins and a cash machine were knocked down as the car started hitting people.

• It swerved
from side to side, often running straight into victims. The car struck at least three vendors - a fortune teller, a couple selling jewellery and a woman tattoo artist.

• Witnesses said
the car was traveling at least 50km/h through the crowd.

• The driver eventually turned into a side street and headed away from the ocean.

• The car
was abandoned less than thre kilometres away.

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