The father killed while camping with his two young daughters in California was shot once in the head, an autopsy found, a coroner’s office official said.
Tristan Beaudette’s death was ruled a homicide, Los Angeles County Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter told CNN.
The 35-year-old from Irvine, California, had been camping with his 2- and 4-year-old daughters in Malibu Creek State Park. He was found dead Friday morning inside their tent.
No arrests have been made in the fatal shooting, and the sheriff’s department is asking for the public’s help in the investigation. A motive remains unknown.
Father was a ‘warm human being,’ rabbi says
Beaudette was a good father who “adored” his daughters and loved watching them sing on stage, Rabbi Arnie Rachlis of the University Synagogue in Irvine told CNN.
“We would see the family at many of the University Synagogue events,” Rachlis said, “and Tristan was such a warm human being with this tremendous smile. You would see his little girls on stage, performing or singing. And he was riveted to them, adored them, looking at them with a big smile.”
“You could see those daughters were the loves of his life, along with his wife,” Rachlis added.
Beaudette took the girls camping while his wife was studying for an exam, the rabbi told CNN. Beaudette was “so comfortable in nature and as a parent, … it was natural that he would take them on the trip.”
“I feel for those girls,” Rachlis said. “Who knows what they saw, what they heard, what they thought?”
Other shooting incidents reported in same park
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department previously said it’s investigating several other reported shooting incidents over the past year in the 8,000-acre park, but so far there’s no connection to Beaudette’s death. Hunting is not allowed in the park.
One man said his car was struck early Monday by a bullet, CNN affiliate KABC reported. Another man was shot there in 2016, and a woman says her car was hit by a bullet while she was camping there with her boyfriend in January 2017, the station reported.
The park has closed all campgrounds indefinitely and canceled camping reservations while Beaudette’s death is investigated, according to the state’s parks department. The space is a vast playground for outdoor enthusiasts, with sprawling trails for hiking and horseback riding.
On Wednesday, the park — typically buzzing with vacationers enjoying the summer weather — was eerily desolate. Silence enveloped its 63 campsites, including Campsite 51, where Beaudette was shot.
All that could be seen there was a barren patch of yellowing grass and dirt, with a picnic table and a view of the Santa Monica Mountains.