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California Sued for $90M by Widow of Murdered Malibu Camper

By Lisa M. Schaffer, Esq. | Last updated on

Tristan Beaudette took his two young daughters camping in order to give his wife some much needed quiet time to study for an upcoming exam. That fateful good deed had a tragic ending. Beaudette, a pharmaceutical executive, was fatally shot in front of his children while camping at Malibu Canyon State Park, and his family has now filed a lawsuit for failing to warn campers about the known shooter in the area that ultimately killed Beaudette.

The lawsuit names the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, California State Parks police, and the California Parks and Recreation Commission, seeking damages against each for $30 million on behalf of Beaudette's wife and their children, for a total in excess of $90 million.

Father of Two Killed by Rifle Shot In Front of Young Daughters

In June 2018, Beaudette took his two young girls, aged two and four, camping. While all three were in the tent, Beaudette was hit in the abdomen with a bullet from a rifle shot somewhere outside the tent. He died soon thereafter from the gunshot wound.

Though it all seems bizarre to the public, it may not seem so surprising to the local sheriff's department. Between November 2016 and June 2018, the named parties in the lawsuit knew that a man had been sleeping in or around the state park and opened fired seven times on cars as well as campsites. Sheriff Alex Villanueva described the gunshots as "all random, targets of opportunity." Four months later, in October 2018, police apprehended a nearby robbery suspect. The suspect had a rifle in his possession when they arrested him, and the robber ultimately turned out to be Beaudette's killer, 42-year-old Anthony Rauda, an ex-convict and survivalist.

Authorities Were Aware of the Shootings Yet Never Warned the Public

Beaudette's widow, Erica Wu, claims in her suit that there were seven other unresolved shootings near the Malibu Canyon State Park, some of which included people getting robbed or gunned down. The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department and California State Parks "have confirmed they were aware" of these shootings, and yet never warned the public about it, and specifically never warned campers that the area was dangerous. Property owners do have a duty to warn invitees, such as Beaudette, of possible dangers on their property. It is clear to see why Wu and her daughters filed this claim.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a state park, and you believe the park knew or should have known of the danger, contact a local personal injury attorney. Premises liability can be extended to state parks and government officials, though issues of governmental immunity will have to be addressed. A personal injury lawyer can listen to the facts of your case and best advise you how to proceed, often at no cost to you.

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