LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A 38-year-old man was charged today with murder and other felony counts for allegedly intentionally driving his car into crowds of people on the Venice Boardwalk, killing a honeymooning Italian woman and injuring 16 others.
Nathan Louis Campbell was expected to be arraigned this afternoon on one count of murder, 16 counts of assault with a deadly weapon and 17 counts of hit-and-run, according to the District Attorney's Office.
The complaint includes the special allegation of use of a deadly weapon - - a car.
Prosecutors were expected to ask that
The suspect, a
Campbell is suspected of purposely aiming a dark blue 2008 Dodge Avenger at groups of people as he sped south down the Venice Boardwalk from Dudley Avenue to near Sunset Avenue, causing chaos and panic at one of L.A.'s biggest tourist magnets.
Killed in the melee was 32-year-old Alice Gruppioni, who was visiting
Coroner's Assistant Chief Ed Winter said an autopsy determined that the cause of the woman's death was blunt-force trauma to the head and neck, and her death has been classified as a homicide.
The Italian newspaper La Republicca reported that Gruppioni ran a family business in her hometown, Rastignano, near
Some members of the woman's family arrived in the Southland Sunday, and planned to return to Italy with the woman's body today. Katia Gruppioni, an aunt of the victim, told NBC4 in a text message that Gruppioni ``was robbed of her life while living her dream visit to California with her husband. This was a tremendous injustice. Alice was a remarkable young lady making her personal dreams come true.''
Gruppioni's husband fought back tears as he spoke to ABC7 about his new wife's death.
``There isn't word(s) to explain what happened and what I feel,'' he said.
Witnesses said the driver of the car seemed to purposely aim at pedestrians as he swerved along the popular Ocean Front Walk.
A man who identified himself as ``Justin'' said he was selling art from his booth when he heard a ``scraping'' sound to his left and saw a car ``careening a bit out of control. It took out a whole booth of sunglasses,'' he said. ``Like smash, like you see in a movie -- like a fruit stand smash.''
``I'm kind of playing chicken with him, fight or flight,'' Justin said. ``I ran, but not before I saw him hit three other people and, you know, take off down the block at like 40, running people over and leaving a wake of destruction.''
The driver abandoned the car at