Paparazzo Killed While Trying to Take Photo of Justin Bieber

A celebrity photographer was struck and killed by an oncoming car Tuesday while trying to snap a photo of Justin Bieber's white Ferrari, though Bieber wasn't even in the car.

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Kevin Mazur / WireImage

Justin Bieber performs at Madison Square Garden on November 29, 2012 in New York, the same concert at which two men planned to kill him.

A celebrity photographer lost his life on New Year’s Day while trying to snap a photo of Justin Bieber’s white Ferrari. The photographer was struck and killed by an oncoming car while crossing the street after taking pictures of the car, which had been pulled over by police on a major Los Angeles roadway for a routine traffic stop. It turns out Bieber wasn’t even in the car at the time, which was reportedly being driven by a friend, the California Highway Patrol told the Los Angeles Times.

The photographer was on the 405 freeway following the Ferrari registered to Bieber when the California Highway Patrol pulled the star’s car over for speeding. The car was directed off the highway to Sepulveda Boulevard, where the paparazzo left his vehicle to snap a picture. According to TMZ, police told the photographer to return to his car twice. LAPD Sgt. Rudy Lopez told KTLA, “While this photographer returned to the vehicle, it did not appear as if he was looking, and he was struck by a vehicle traveling southbound on Sepulveda.” The driver of the car called 911 after hitting the photographer and was questioned and released by police. It is unlikely that she will face charges because the photographer was not in a crosswalk.

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While the photographer has not been officially identified, TMZ identified him as Chris Guerra and noted he was in his late 20s.

The 18-year-old singer, who is notoriously not a fan of the paparazzi, unexpectedly sounded off on the tragic death in a statement that called for greater protection for stars and paparazzi alike. “While I was not present nor directly involved with this tragic accident, my thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victim,” Bieber said in the statement. 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.”

His words are quite poignant considering the teen star’s shaky history with photographers. Last May, a photographer claimed he was “physically battered” by Bieber in the suburb of Calabasas, and just last month he was pictured tossing a water bottle at paparazzi in Miami. His passions run deeper still: Bieber was the first celebrity to charge a photographer under a new California law aimed at curbing celebrity photographers who follow too closely. Other celebrities, including Miley Cyrus, have also weighed in on the need for reform.

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