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1 dead, 11 injured after car hits crowd on Venice Beach boardwalk

August 3, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A car hit a crowd of people on the Venice Beach boardwalk on Saturday, killing one person and injuring 11 others.

The victim was in the hospital when she died. She was said to be on her honeymoon. The deadly collision also left one person in extremely critical condition, two people in serious condition and eight people with minor injuries. LAFD said 10 people were taken to local hospitals. Of those who received minor injuries, two declined to be transported. LAFD said all patients were pedestrians on the boardwalk.

The LAPD also says one person has been detained for questioning in Santa Monica. Police also say they believe they have located the suspect's vehicle.

It all started just before 6 p.m. Witnesses say the suspect was parked at Dudley Avenue at the boardwalk. They say they saw him get into his dark-colored Dodge Avenger and then suddenly hit the gas. According to witnesses, he swerved back and forth, as if trying to hit as many people as possible, before turning off the boardwalk at Sunset Avenue and fleeing the scene.

"The tires started screeching," said witness Landon Blackburn. "...I saw him, and he was looking for blood. That guy, his intention was to kill people."

The vehicle was later located in a Santa Monica neighborhood. Authorities believe the driver apparently ditched the car after the deadly collision. Sources say the person then turned himself in to the Santa Monica Police Department. He is being questioned by detectives to determine if he is indeed the driver.

Many witnesses described the scene as a horror film come to life.

"It was horrible. I mean it was like something out of a movie, something you would never expect to see. There were people flying, laying on the ground, tents flying everywhere," said Katherine Blackburn. "If he wanted to kill people, he came on a perfect time, 5 p.m. on a Saturday in the summer in Venice Beach."

Investigators say at this point, they don't know what the suspect's motive may have been.

"It's tragic the fact that somebody, whether accidental or intentional, would come on the boardwalk, where hundreds, thousands of people come here to enjoy the beach," said LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman.

Surveillance video from the Candle Cafe & Grill shows the suspect calmly parking his car around 6 p.m., then walking off. Minutes later, he gets back inside and takes off toward the boardwalk. Another angle of the footage shows the car speeding around the corner before disappearing out of sight.

The owners of Candle Cafe & Grill are setting up a fund for the victims of this tragedy. They will be holding a fundraiser Monday, Aug. 5.

You can send donations in care of "North Venice Beach Vendors" to:

Candle Cafe & Grill
325 Ocean Front Walk
Venice, CA 90291


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