Tristan Beaudette, 35, was a scientist who had taking his girls to overnight at a state park while their mom stayed home to study for a test

Leaving his wife at home so she could study for an exam, Tristan Beaudette packed up his two young daughters to go camping overnight in California’s popular Malibu Creek State Park outside Los Angeles.

There, at about 4:45 a.m. last Friday, someone fatally shot the 35-year-old scientist, who was found dead in his tent along with his two unharmed daughters, 2 and 4. Investigators believe the killing took place in front of the girls.

“The theory we are working with is he was shot inside the tent,” Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Rodney Moore said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “The children were inside the tent too.”

No assailant or motive has been identified.

“We are working this as a homicide at this point,” Moore said. “We are gathering evidence. … It will take some time.”

A GoFundMe post confirming Beaudette’s death says family members “are heartbroken.”

Credit: GofundMe

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“Tristan was out doing something he adored in life, being in the outdoors with his two young girls,” reads the post. “His wife Erica was preparing to take an exam the next morning. This was their final step before taking well-deserved time off together as a family prior to their relocation to new jobs in the Bay Area.”

“They were about to embark on a new chapter in their lives. And then it was all taken away, by a fatal gun shot in the middle of the night, in front of his two young daughters.”

“Not a second goes by that we aren’t grappling with the senselessness of this crime.”

Authorities say Beaudette was dead at the scene after deputies responded to a call about shots fired about 4:45 a.m. The victim was hit at least once in the upper torso, reports news staton KTLA.

There are about 63 campsites in the location of the shooting in the Calabasas park, and they likely all were occupied at the time, Park Superintendent Tony Hoffman told the outlet. The popular destination just 25 miles from downtown Los Angeles covers more than 8,000 acres and has provided a backdrop for the filming of TV series such as “M*A*S*H” and the original Planet of the Apes movie.

A separate statement released Sunday by the Beaudette family said Tristan was “happiest out in nature,” had married his high school sweetheart, and identified him as a “scientist who loved cooking and microbrews,” reports the Times. His LinkedIn page said he held a PhD in chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley and worked for a pharmaceutical company.

“His selfless devotion to his children came naturally, and Tristan found true joy in all aspects of being a father,” the family said. “The grief and trauma this loss has caused our close-knit family is indescribable.”