A photographer was killed Tuesday night when he was struck by a vehicle while taking pictures of Justin Bieber’s white Ferrari. Bieber was not in the car at the time.
The man was identified as Chris Guerra by Andre De Andrade, a coworker at AKM Images/GSI Media. De Andrade said Guerra was pictured in an image left at a roadside memorial.
Guerra was killed after the California Highway Patrol stopped the driver of the pop star’s car on the northbound 405 Freeway for speeding, according to LAPD Officer James Stoughton. The driver exited to Sepulveda Boulevard and Getty Center Drive.
Guerra, pictured at right
, then parked his car on Sepulveda Boulevard and crossed the street to take pictures. A Highway Patrol officer ordered him out of the street.
"He ordered the individual to return to the vehicle," said LAPD Sgt. Rudy Lopez. "He refused to return initially, but after ordering him twice, that individual -- the photographer -- did return, crossed the traffic and was struck by a vehicle that was traveling southbound on Sepulveda."
Paramedics transported Guerra to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. A friend of the photographer, Tibault Mauvilian, said they were planning to cover the upcoming Sundance Film Festival 10 days from Tuesday.
"That wouldn't be the first time he followed him," Mauvilian said. "He always played by the rules. I'm not aware of him doing anything illegal.
"Some people will say he's just another crazy paparazzo trying to make the money. Actually, he was not a paparazzo. He was just another kid from New Mexico."
The Los Angeles County Department of Coroner said it had notified the victim's family but could not confirm his name until a family member identified the body.
Charges will not be filed against the woman driving the car who hit Guerra. Sepulveda Boulevard at Getty Center Drive was expected to reopen Wednesday morning.
The spot of the collision was marked with flowers later Wednesday.
Access Hollywood obtained the following statement from Bieber: "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."
Earlier this year, a case involving a photographer and Bieber
became the first case prosecuted under a California law designed to crack down on reckless driving by paparazzi. The case against self-employed freelance celebrity photographer Paul Raef stemmed from a high-speed pursuit of Bieber -- driving a chrome Fisker-Karma luxury sports car -- that took place in July on the 101 Freeway in the San Fernando Valley.
Counts filed under the 2010 state law were dismissed.
The offense is punishable by six months in jail and a $2,500 fine but had gone unused until Raef was involved in the freeway chase of Bieber that topped 80 mph and prompted several 911 calls, including a member of the Los Angeles City Council, a strong proponent of the law.
Published at 4:16 AM PST on Jan 3, 2013