Justin Bieber has called for new laws for paparazzi following the tragic death of photographer Chris Guerra who was run over and killed while taking pictures of the star’s sports car.
A 29-year-old freelance photographer, named byTMZ as Chris Guerra, was struck by a vehicle on Tuesday night after taking pictures of Justin Bieber’s white $200,000 Ferrari in Los Angeles.
Justin Bieber’s friend, 19-year-old rapper Lil Twist, was behind the wheel of the 458 Italia Ferrari when it was pulled over by police – prompting Chris Guerra to get out of his own car as he believed Bieber was in the vehicle.
Justin Bieber today released a statement in which he said his “thoughts and prayers” were with Chris Guerra’s friends and family.
In his statement, Justin Bieber said: “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.”
Chris Guerra was tailing Justin Bieber’s white Ferrari when it was pulled over by California Highway Patrol officers on an I-405 off ramp in L.A.
He got out of his car to take pictures but was struck by a Toyota Highlander SUV as he was running back to his own vehicle after being told to return to his vehicle repeatedly by police.
Photographs taken from the scene show the man’s hat and shoe lying in the road where he was hit.
It is believed the female driver of the car which struck the photographer stopped other cars from hitting the man’s body after she had called 911.
Los Angeles police officer Sergeant Rudy Lopez said the highway patrol men had noticed the photographer taking pictures close to the scene. He said one of the officers asked him to return to his vehicle.
Sgt Rudy Lopez said: “He verbally ordered him to return to the vehicle, he had to order him twice and he seemed reluctant to go back, but eventually he did.
“When the photographer returned to the vehicle it did not appear that he was looking and he was struck by a vehicle traveling southbound.”
Chris Guerra died at a hospital shortly after the crash.
The sports car – which contained two of Justin Bieber’s friends, with rapper Lil Twist believed to be behind the wheel – was parked on the side of Sepulveda Boulevard near Getty Center Drive after the traffic stop.
According to sources, Lil Twist was hanging with Justin Bieber at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills on Tuesday afternoon when he left in the white Ferrari without Justin Bieber.
Lil Twist, who is a Lil Wayne protégé, and Justin Bieber have been hanging out and partying together for the past few weeks.
They even celebrated New Year’s Eve together by popping champagne bottles in Mexico, where they’re both of legal drinking age.
No charges are likely to be filed against the motorist – believed to be female – who hit Chris Guerra.
The LAPD is continuing to investigate Chris Guerra’s death.
According to TMZ, Chris Guerra claimed to friends earlier in the day that he had spotted Justin Bieber smoking what he believed to be marijuana from a pipe while driving the Ferrari.
A source said the photographer told him he was following the singer back to the Four Seasons and was continuing to pursue what he believed was a big story.
The source says after 20 minutes, Chris Guerra hung up as he said the Ferrari was pulling out of the hotel parking lot and he needed to hang up and follow it. Apparently he had no idea Justin Bieber in the car.
Justin Bieber had already been pulled over by police in his Ferrari while driving through West Hollywood in November. He was initially pulled over for making an unsafe left turn. During the stop, the officer discovered Justin Bieber’s registration was expired and he was given a ticket.
Justin Bieber had helped ring in the new year, performing on Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve on Monday night.
Reacting to the accident, former child star Miley Cyrus took to Twitter to call the paparazzi “fools”.
Miley Cyrus, now 20, tweeted: “Hope this paparazzi/JB accident brings on some changes in ’13 Paparazzi are dangerous! Wasn’t Princess Di enough of a wake up call?!
“It is unfair for anyone to put this on to Justin’s conscious as well! This was bound to happen! Your mom teaches u when your a child not to play in the street!
“The chaos that comes with the paparazzi acting like fools makes it impossible for anyone to make safe choices.”