LASD lieutenant says he tried to warn about Malibu Creek State Park killer, sues department

Saturday, June 8, 2019
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A Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department lieutenant is filing a retaliation lawsuit against the LASD after he said he tried to warn the public about gunfire danger in Malibu Creek State Park well before the shooting death of a young father.

CALABASAS, Calif. (KABC) -- Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Lt. James Royal is suing his department, claiming he's facing retaliation for trying to warn the public about seven shootings at Malibu Creek State Park before Tristan Beaudette was shot and killed as he camped with his two daughters in June 2018.

After a vagrant Anthony Rauda was arrested and charged with his murder, Beaudette's family filed a lawsuit for more than $90 million in damages against the LASD and other agencies.

Royal alleges the retaliation began after that, last January.

Calabasas campground murder: Anthony Rauda charged with killing father at Malibu Creek State Park

"This is the gentleman who tried to put a warning out not once but twice, and failure to warn is the entire basis to the civil wrongful death lawsuit," said Matthew McNicholas, Royal's attorney.

The lawsuit alleges Royal was forced to represent the department at a town hall meeting last August. People were wanting answers after Beaudette's murder. Why were there no warnings of previous shootings at the park?

"There is no confirmed connection, and remember even now there is no confirmed connection," Royal said at the time.

His attorney claims Royal was forced to communicate the department's message, even though he knew different.

The lawsuit alleges he tried twice to get his superiors to issue a public safety warning - the first time was more than a year before Beaudette's murder.

He was allegedly told "It was a state parks problem," not theirs.

His attorney said Royal lost his detective status and was forced to commute about 80 miles extra a day to work.

Eyewitness News reached out to the LASD, but the department has not commented.