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Boardwalk murder: More details

2013-08-05 11:30

JUST FOR ALICE: A memorial for Italian newly-wed Alice Gruppioni (32) on Venice Beach "boardwalk" the day after she was was killed when a man slammed his car into the weekend crowd. Image: AFP

LOS ANGELES, California - A 38-year-old man was charged with murder on August 4 2013, after slamming his car into a sidewalk cafe on California's Venice Beach. One person was killed and 11 injured, some of the seriously.

Nathan Campbell is charged with murder but is free on bail of R9.8-million after the horrific incident at the popular Los Angeles tourist haunt. Witnesses of the crash said the driver of the high-powered Dodge Avenger appeared to deliberately aim at people.

Watch the video!

Italian tourist Alice Gruppioni (32) was killed during the crash. Another victim remained in 'critical' condition, two were listed as serious while eight other victims were being treated for less-serious injuries, Los Angeles Police Department officer Andy Nieman reported.

The driver of the car fled from the scene after the crash. Campbell later turned himself in for questioning at Santa Monica police station and was arrested, Nieman said.


Witnesses described a chaotic scene as security camera footage of the incident emerged.

Daniel Regidor (50) told the Los Angeles Times: "A car ploughed through the boardwalk. People screaming, running. I was half a mile from the scene, but you could see just this mass of people trying to get out of the way.... Just a lot of people screaming.... It was horrible.

"I saw somebody flying up in the air. When I came upon the scene, there were a bunch of people on the ground, bloodied."

In the video a number of people are seen speaking to the driver after he parked nearby. After a few moments the car speeds off and crashes into people on the boardwalk.


It was not immediately clear how fast the driver was going. The driver parked next to the Cadillac Hotel and twice walked out to the boardwalk before getting into his Dodge Avenger and accelerating, swerving around yellow poles meant to prevent cars from getting into the pedestrian-only area and onto the boardwalk.

Alex Hagan (22), who was working at the Cadillac Hotel, said: "I heard a big 'boom, boom' like the sound of someone going up and down the curb, it was super loud."
The driver knocked over two mannequins and started driving into people, swerving from side to side and often running straight into them. The video showed the car hitting at least three vendors who were sitting at their sales booths.

Two women who appeared to be in their 60s were also struck, Hagan said. Many people ran after the car, screaming and cursing as it sped away, he said.


Golestan Alipour, bartender at Candle Cafe & Grill, said the sedan carefully maneuvered between a storefront and metal poles that had been erected to prevent anyone from driving onto the boardwalk. A ash machine barely slowed his race toward the crowds.

Alipour said: "The restaurant was full. Everybody ran."
The car went on for several blocks, knocking down a fortune teller who had a table on the boardwalk, a couple selling jewelry and a woman who does tattooing, Alipour said.

Authorities at the scene searched for evidence across the boardwalk, which is in a part of Los Angeles known for eccentricities. Police found a car nearby that they believe belonged to the driver, he said.


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