Los Angeles, CA- In Los Angeles, the paparazzi can rake in big bucks of they get a photograph of highly-sought after celebrity. And these rouge photographers will go to extreme measures in order to capture a juicy photo of celebrities; waiting outside their homes around the clock, chasing them down the freeway and following them where ever they go. But few lose their lives in pursuit of a coveted actor, actress or pop star until Tuesday night.
According to the Los Angeles police, Chris Guerra, 29, a free-lance photographer was pursuing, who he thought to be Justin Bieber, in his white Ferrari. Bieber’s luxury vehicle was seen leaving his home when Guerra began a pursuit which led the two to Interstate 405.
While speeding on I-405, California Highway Patrol stopped the Ferrari and guided the driver onto Sepulveda Blvd. Guerra also pulled over in hopes of snapping a choice photo of the young pop singer, according to the Chicago Tribune.
An officer on the scene warned Guerra twice to return to his car for safety reasons, but he didn’t listen. Just moments later, the paparazzo was returning to his car when he was struck by a passing SUV while attempting to cross four lanes of traffic Officer Cleon Joseph said.
Guerra was rushed to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, the Los Angeles Times reported, but he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Officer Joseph said the driver of the SUV will likely not be charged with anything.
It was later revealed that Bieber was not actually driving the Ferrari at the time of the accident.
Sources close to Bieber told TMZ that Guerra had been stalking and harassing the 18 year-old mega-star, “following him and chasing him at every opportunity.”
Guerra told the agency he was working with that he was onto a big story. According to the agency, Guerra said he allegedly saw Beiber smoking marijuana earlier that day, if he was able to catch the singer in the act that photo would be worth a large amount of money.
Last July, while Beiber was driving his Fisker, he was pulled over for speeding and told police he was being pursued by photographer Paul Raef, according to the Los Angeles Times.
After that event, Beiber tried to use a 2010 law created to prevent paparazzos from driving dangerously to get photographs and stop their endless pursuit of him, however a judge dismissed the case, stating law was overreach and violated the photographers First Amendment rights.
Following the tragic events of Tuesday Bieber called for laws to stop the paparazzi from pursuing celebrities.
In a statement, Bieber said, “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.”
No doubt a pursuit by paparazzi can be dangerous; some celebrities have been involved in car accidents while being pursued. LeAnn Rimes accelerated into another car trying to evade photographers in 2009. January Jones slammed into two parked cars in 2010 while being pursued. And Tori Spelling ran into a wall at her child’s school in 2011 while the paparazzi tried to capture her.
Back in 1997, Princess Diana, her boyfriend Dodi Fayed and her driver Henri Paul were killed in fatal traffic accident while they were being pursued by photographers in a Paris tunnel. Her death compelled French lawmakers to pass legislating which forbids photographers from snapping photos of children or high-profile individuals without permission.
But Dmitry Gorin the attorney for photographer, Paul Raef, said paparazzi laws were unnecessary. “There are plenty of other laws on the books to deal with these issues. There’s always a rush to create a new paparazzi law when every time something like this happens.” He said, “Any new law on the paparazzi is going to run smack into the 1st Amendment. Truth is, most conduct is covered by existing laws. A lot of this is done for publicity.”
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