Police Arrest Suspect in Deadly LA Driving Attack

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  • LOS ANGELES (AP) — Police arrested a man on suspicion of murder after a driver plowed into crowds at the Venice Beach boardwalk, a seemingly intentional hit-and-run that killed an Italian woman on her honeymoon and injured 11 others.

    Nathan Louis Campbell, 38, of Los Angeles, was arrested after he walked into a police station in neighboring Santa Monica about two hours after the incident and told police that he was involved.

    Campbell remained jailed Sunday on $1 million bail.

    Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese declined to discuss a motive but said there was no indication that the attack was a terrorist act or that anyone else was involved.

    Security video taken at the popular tourist site showed a man parking a black car, stepping out and surveying the leisurely scene for several minutes before getting back into the vehicle and speeding into the crowd. Hundreds of people who had been walking or sitting at cafes raced to get out of the way before the vehicle sped out of sight.

    Witnesses reported a horrifying aftermath.

    People were ” stumbling around, blood dripping down their legs, looking confused not knowing what had happened, people screaming,” said Louisa Hodge, who described “blocks and blocks of people just strewn across the sidewalk.”

    The Italian woman was identified as Alice Gruppioni, 32. Her family in Bologna told the Italian news agency LaPresse that she had been on her honeymoon after a July 20 wedding.

    Gruppioni worked as a manager for the family business Sira group, which makes radiators. Her father, Valerio Gruppioni, runs the company and was formerly president of the Bologna soccer team, according to LaPresse.

    The family declined to speak to The Associated Press on Sunday.

    Authorities said another person was critically injured. Two others were taken to hospitals in serious condition and eight suffered less serious injuries.

    The crash was not far from where an elderly driver sped through an open-air farmer’s market in Santa Monica in 2003, killing 10 people and injuring more than 70 others.

    Investigators said George Weller, who was 86 at the time, mistakenly stepped on the gas instead of the brake and then panicked. He was doing up to 60 mph when he plowed through the market. Weller was convicted of 10 counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and was sentenced to probation.

    It was not immediately clear how fast the car in Saturday’s crash was going.

    According to security video and witness accounts, the driver parked next to the Cadillac Hotel and twice walked out to the boardwalk before getting into the Dodge Avenger and accelerating, swerving around yellow poles meant to prevent cars from getting into the pedestrian-only area and onto the boardwalk.

    “I heard a big ‘boom, boom,’ like the sound of someone going up and down the curb, it was super loud,” said Alex Hagan, 22, who was working the desk at the Cadillac Hotel and watched the scene unfold from the start.

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