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Photographer killed trying to take picture of Justin Bieber’s Ferrari

Justin Bieber

Jae C. Hong/AP FILE PHOTO Justin Bieber watches an NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Boston Celtics in Los Angeles, Thursday, Dec. 27.

LOS ANGELES—Los Angeles Police Department officials were investigating the death of a photographer who was hit by a car after photographing Justin Bieber’s white Ferrari.

The photographer, who has been identified as Chris Guerra by TMZ, died at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Police are interviewing the motorist who hit him but no arrests have been made.

Justin released a statement saying, “While I was not present nor directly involved with this tragic accident, my thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victim. Hopefully this tragedy will finally inspire meaningful legislation and whatever other necessary steps to protect the lives and safety of celebrities, police officers, innocent public bystanders, and the photographers themselves.”

The incident took place near Getty Center Drive shortly before 6 p.m. Bieber’s sports car had been pulled over on the 405 Freeway by the California Highway Patrol for a traffic stop. The CHP officer directed the driver of Bieber’s car off the freeway onto Sepulveda, according to law enforcement sources. CHP officials said Bieber was not inside the car at the time.

The photographer arrived at the scene, got out of his car and crossed Sepulveda to take photos. He was hit by the car as he crossed back across the boulevard, the sources said.

According to TMZ, “Guerra made a call less than an hour before he died, telling someone he was on a big storybecause he claimed he saw Justin smoking marijuana while driving. A source connected with the photo agency Chris Guerra did freelance work for tells TMZ . . . Chris called him at 5:16 Tuesday afternoon. Chris said, ‘Man, you won’t believe my luck. It’s pretty dead in L.A. Everybody thinks Justin and Selena are in Mexico, but they’re not.’ ”

When he saw the car leaving a hotel, he apparently didn’t realize Justin wasn’t driving. A rep for Justin told TMZ, “It’s really sad that people are trying to push a story without the facts so soon after this tragic accident. Justin was not present or involved in this incident and the focus should remain on honoring the memory of the victim” but did not address the weed accusation.

This is not the first time photographers have gone out of the way to get pictures of Justin. According to MTV, Justin was cited for speeding in July after trying to get away from a photographer. An L.A. councilman who saw the incident said at the time that, “he thinks Bieber should have lost his licence, been arrested and locked up.” Also last summer, Justin was accused of battery after an alleged shoving match with a camera man. The charges were dismissed in November.

With files from Andrew Blankstein, Los Angeles Times

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