The widow and two daughters of a man who was fatally shot while camping at Malibu Creek State Park have filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the county, claiming the sheriff's department failed to warn the public about earlier shootings in the same general area.
Tristan Beaudette, 35, was shot in the head June 22, 2018, while camping with his two young daughters.
According to the lawsuit, he was sleeping in a tent between his daughters.
Top news of the day
The girls were awakened by the gunfire and watched their father die.
The sheriff's department and other government agencies "have confirmed that they were aware of at least seven unsolved gunshot shootings of humans and vehicles in and adjacent to Malibu Creek State Park between the date of November 2016 and Tristan Beaudette's shooting date of June 22, 2018," according to the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit, which was filed Monday. "However, defendants intentionally withheld any and all information of these previous seven shootings from the public."
There was no immediate comment from the sheriff's department.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, but a claim filed with the county earlier this year by Beaudette's widow, Erica Wu, and the two daughters sought damages of $90 million.
Anthony Rauda, 43, a vagrant who lived in the surrounding area, was arrested in October and charged in January with murder for the killing of Beaudette, along with 10 counts of attempted murder.
Rauda is also charged with five counts of second-degree commercial burglary in the Calabasas area between July 2018 and October 2018.
He is due back in court Aug. 14.
The lawsuit contends that by failing to warn the public of earlier shootings, the sheriff's department "acted with willful disregard" of Beaudette's life.
"Had decedent Tristan Beaudette known of the prior shootings, he would have never brought himself or his young daughters to camp, thereby putting his daughters and himself at severe risk, at Malibu Creek State Park," the suit claims.
The suit notes that sheriff's Detective James Royal notified his supervisors in 2017 about three shootings that had occurred in the area and advised them that the public should be warned, but no warning was issued.
Four more shootings ensued, prompting Royal to again ask that the public be warned, but "the request was denied by Royal's superior officers," the suit claims.
Following Beaudette's killing and revelations about the earlier shootings in the area, Royal was ordered by his supervisors to attend a town hall meeting and explain to the public the department's position that the other shootings "were unrelated to the Beaudette murder," despite Royal's belief to the contrary, the lawsuit alleges.
Royal sued the sheriff's department earlier this year over the matter.