Honeymooner 'destroyed' after hit-and-run kills wife; suspect held on $1M bail

by Miguel Almaguer and M. Alex Johnson, NBC News /  / Updated 

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

The man who authorities say plowed his car into a crowd of people on the famed Venice Beach boardwalk — killing a woman who was in California on her honeymoon and hurting 11 others — was held Monday on suspicion of murder.

The man, Nathan Louis Campbell, turned himself in about an hour after the crash Saturday night and was being held on $1 million bail. At first, he had fled in his car, a dark Dodge Avenger, captured on security camera video.

Sources told the Los Angeles Times that Campbell was from Colorado and was living in his car, and a police source told NBC Los Angeles that he was known to law enforcement in Southern California.

Los Angeles proseuctors planned to review potential charges by Tuesday. Police declined to talk about a motive but said there was no indication of terrorism, or that anyone else was involved.

Witnesses described horror and chaos as the car accelerated through the crowd. Mustafa Balci, who runs a booth that sells Turkish glassware and other items, said it three customers who were lingering over his wares.

Killed was Alice Gruppioni, a 32-year-old Italian newlywed. Christian Casadei, who married her two weeks ago, suffered minor injuries and was at her side when she died, the Italian news agency ANSA said.

“She was robbed of her life while living her dream visit to California with her husband,” the bride’s aunt, Katia Gruppioni, told NBC Los Angeles in a text message. “Alice was a remarkable young lady making her personal dreams come true.”

Giuseppe Perrone, the Italian consul general in Los Angeles, who accompanied Casadei to the hospital, quoted him as saying: “We were walking, we were happy, we were on our honeymoon and everything, and suddenly everything changed. I still can’t believe it, and I don’t even remember exactly what happened. It’s all very confusing.”

Gruppioni was the daughter of Valerio Gruppioni, president of one of Italy’s largest makers of radiators and a former president of Bologna FC, one of the top teams in Italian soccer.

Of the 11 injured, all of whom were walking along the boardwalk, one was in critical condition. A witness, Louisa Hodge, told The Associated Press that she people stumbling and bloodied, and “blocks and blocks of people just strewn across the sidewalk.”

Chelsea Alvarez, who was visiting the boardwalk Saturday night, said the scene was “really bad.”

“There was tables, there was people everywhere, blood everywhere,” she said. “There was scattered stuff. It was horrible. It was the ugliest scene I’ve ever seen.”

Alvarez told NBC Los Angeles that her grandmother Linda Alvarez, 75, was among those hit, suffering broken ribs.

The car knocked over two mannequins and an ATM before it started hitting people. The driver turned up a side street, going away from the ocean, and police said the car was found less than two miles away.

The security video shows a man parking a black car along the boardwalk, watching for several minutes and then speeding into the crowd. It shows the car careening around barriers meant to block cars from the pedestrian area.

A member of the Los Angeles City Council, Mike Bonin, told NBC Los Angeles that the barriers are insufficient. He said he would ask the council to install new ones before the end of the year.

The Associated Press and NBC News' Gil Aegerter, Hasani Gittens and Pete Williams contributed to this report.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.