(Adds details of rampage, vigil, city action)
By Dan Whitcomb
LOS ANGELES, Aug 6 (Reuters) - A Colorado man accused of plowing his car through crowds at the Venice Beach boardwalk in Los Angeles, killing an Italian woman on her honeymoon and injuring 16 others, was charged on Tuesday with murder and multiple counts of assault with a deadly weapon.
Nathan Louis Campbell, 38, was also charged with 17 counts of hit-and-run, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
Prosecutors said Campbell was behind the wheel of a dark blue Dodge Avenger that sped down the packed boardwalk in Venice Beach shortly before 6 p.m. on Saturday, killing 32-year-old Italian tourist Alice Gruppioni.
Witnesses said it appeared the driver was aiming for pedestrians along the ocean front walk, a major tourist attraction known for its patchwork of street vendors, souvenir shops, restaurants and sporting areas in one of the city’s quirkiest neighborhoods.
Security footage aired on ABC News shows the car smashing into a crowd of people, backing up and then driving into another throng. Police initially listed 11 people as wounded, but in charging Campbell, prosecutors said 16 people were struck by the car and suffered some form of injury.
Campbell, who police described as a transient with no strong ties to Southern California, was taken into custody after abandoning his car blocks from the scene and walking to a police station in the adjacent community of Santa Monica.
Authorities have disclosed little about what might have motivated the rampage at a top Southern California tourist spot. A Los Angeles Police Department spokesman has said that Campbell made incriminating statements to officers in Santa Monica.
Campbell was expected to be advised of the charges against him in an initial court appearance in Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday, and prosecutors said they would seek to have him held on $1.48 million bail. He faces a possible life prison term if convicted.
Some 100 people gathered on the boardwalk on Monday night in a moment of silence for Gruppioni, who was traveling in California with her new husband, and for the other victims.
A Los Angeles City Council member has asked fire and law enforcement agencies to study placing permanent concrete barricades in place to restrict vehicle access to the boardwalk. (Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Johnston, Cynthia Osterman and David Gregorio)