Search For Armed Man In Malibu Creek State Park

Residents and visitors in the Malibu canyon area are still concerned about a mysterious man spotted in the area over the weekend.

More than a dozen Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies combed the area for hours on Saturday with the aid of three helicopters after a park worker reported spoke to a man who fit the description of a rifle-toting burglar spotted in the area last Sunday.

Bloodhounds were brought in to search the canyon south of the Malibu Creek State Park campgrounds, where 35-year-old Irvine resident Tristan Beaudette was shot to death in his tent June 22 while camping with his two daughters.

Sheriff's Enforcement Bureau deputies used a helicopter to ferry moret han a dozen crates of surveillance gear and other tactical items for a search that ended when it became too dark to safely continue, Deputy Dangelo Robinson said.

Sheriff's deputies kept hikers out of an area along the creek, south of Piuma.

"I'm trying to preserve a crime scene, we're bringing in bloodhounds," a deputy said.

Deputies have said the burglary suspect has not been connected to the shooting, but they are considering it a possibility.

"We haven't linked it (to Beaudette's killing), but we certainly haven't ruled it out," Sgt. Matthew Dunn of the Malibu/Lost Hills sheriff'sstation said.

The suspect might be a transient living in the park, Dunn said.

Hikers expressed surprise when they found out a manhunt was happening and that low-flying helicopters they had seen were searching for an armed burglar.

Last Sunday, a commercial structure north of the park was burglarized, and surveillance video showed a man wearing what deputies called "tactical gear" and carrying a rifle. The man reportedly stole some food.

The man also was suspected of burglarizing the Calabasas water treatment plant at least once and another commercial building near Mulholland Highway and Las Virgenes Road, Dunn said.

On Tuesday, there was a large manhunt in the canyon for that suspect, but he was not found. Tuesday night, some residents reported hearing gunfire.

Dunn said today a maintenance worker at the Tapia Park area about a mile south of the campground "encountered a person who matched the description of the armed commercial burglar."

Dunn said the man asked the park worker for a ride out of the canyon, "because he said there were so many police in the area." The maintenance worker left and called deputies.

Zohreen Adamjee reported live from Malibu:

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