Nathan Louis Campbell, 38, is the alleged driver behind the shocking vehicular rampage in Venice Beach that dominated headlines over the weekend.
Campbell turned himself in to police in Santa Monica, California, telling them “I think you have been looking for me.” He is being held on a $1 million bail after he admitted driving the car that killed 32-year-old honeymooner Alice Gruppioni as well as injuring 11 others, reports NBC Los Angeles.
At around 6 p.m. on August 4, it’s alleged that Campbell deliberately drove his Dodge Avenger onto the boardwalk, aiming to hit people.
Here’s what you need to know…
1. Campbell Had Been Known to Police
— Gisela M Perez (@GiselaMPerezTV) August 6, 2013
According to NBC Los Angeles, Campbell was “known” to police in the area. He’s referred to as a resident of Los Angeles, but the Dodge Avenger that was used in the incident had Colorado paper plates. The L.A.-based station goes on to report that a man with Campbell’s name and date of birth was arrested in 2002 for being drunk and disorderly. The Sacramento Bee reports that Campbell spent time in jail for shoplifting. The Bee says:
Campbell was sentenced to five days in jail after pleading guilty to shoplifting at a Denver Pavilions in February 2009. Five months later, he was accused of trespassing at an outdoor mall in Denver and sentenced to 10 days in jail, the records show.
Campbell lived in Colorado at least as recently as last year. He was evicted from his apartment in Denver for not paying $655 in rent in March 2012, records show.
California authorities said no one with his name and birth date had a state driver’s license.
The crime he committed in 2009 is believed to have been an attempt to steal headphones from a Virgin Megastore by stuffing them down his pants.
The Los Angeles Times reports that in 2008, Campbell was cited for reckless driving while under the influence in Panama City, Florida.
NBC News reports that in 2009, Campbell was arrested for trespassing in Colorado for refusing to leave a movie theater.
CBS Los Angeles adds that in May 2012 was arrested for public drunkenness in Santa Monica, California.
2. The Driver ‘Was Looking for Blood’
An hour after the rampage, it’s reported by The Los Angeles Times, Campbell abandoned his car and turned himself in to police. His car was searched thoroughly by police so as to rule out and terrorist threat. A witness, Landon Blackburn, told ABC Los Angeles that whoever was driving the car was:
…looking for blood, that guy’s intention was to kill people.
WPTV have added that police told them that whoever was driving the car was:
…bent on evil.
Police do not have a motive for the killing, The Los Angeles Times reports that police were “detectives were focused on the months immediately leading up to Saturday’s incident and whether any major life events could help explain his actions.”
3. Campbell Has Been Described as a ‘Transient’
— The Straits Times (@STcom) August 4, 2013
Despite being reported as a resident of Los Angeles, the Associated Press reports that Campbell is a native of Colorado (with some stations also reporting he lived in Waco, Texas). It’s further reported that he had only been in California for a short time.
— Julie Sone (@JulieSone) August 5, 2013
It’s widely reported that Campbell has previously been treated for addictions to drugs and alcohol, police are looking into a possible relapse as a motive for the attack.
4. Witnesses Heard ‘Screeching Tires’
The horrific scene being described by witnesses includes the hearing of “screeching tires” as the black Dodge Sedan (similar to above) reached a speed of 60 mph. The car knocked over mannequins and an ATM on the busy tourist trap. The timing of the rampage, appears to have been calculated, the boardwalk being at its busiest in the early evening as people gather to watch the sunset. The Associated Press reports surveillance footage appearing to show the driver parked up near the boardwalk for some time surveying the scene.
Witness Neqo Habibi told NBC Los Angeles:
I seen a girl … she was latched onto the hood … she got shook off. He swerved two times and she rolled off and was heading straight for us. It looked like he had no other care in the world.
5. Campbell Has Been Charged With Murder
BREAKING: Venice Beach update: LA County DA's office says suspect Nathan Campbell expected in court tomorrow. @GDLA
— Hayley Herst (@HayleyHerst) August 5, 2013
Campbell has been formally charged with murder assault when he appeared in court in Los Angeles. He was booked Sunday night and is being held in LA County Jail. The Los Angeles Times reports that after being charged at a Santa Monica police station, Campbell asked officers how many people had been injured on the boardwalk. After Deputy District Attorney Gary Hearnsberger said his team were working on what charges can be brought against Campbell, Hearnsberger told reporters that Campbell was arraigned at the Airport courthouse on charges of murder and assault. The Associated Press reports:
He is charged with murder and 16 counts of assault with a deadly weapon, and 17 counts of hit-and-run.