The late photographer has been identified as Chris Guerra, a man in his late-20s who moved to Los Angeles to become a member of the paparazzi in March 2012. Bieber and his friend Lil Twist, 19, had been in a car on Tuesday in L.A. after the duo, along with Bieber's girlfriend, Selena Gomez, 20, returned from a New Year's Eve trip to Mexico. Lil Twist posted a photo of himself and Bieber drinking champagne during a December 31 celebration while in Mexico, where the minimum drinking age is 18.
Bieber and Lil Twist were staying at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills on Tuesday. Guerro stated in a phone call shortly before his death to the photography agency he worked for that he had seen both Bieber's and Gomez's cars at the hotel, however that he had also seen Bieber smoking what appeared to be marijuana while driving. Excited about possibly snapping a photo of the singer smoking the weed, Guerro told his agency, "You won't believe my luck, it's dead in L.A. Everybody thinks that Justin and Selena are [still] in Mexico, but they're not".
Guerra pursued Bieber's vehicle to a traffic stop at Sepulveda Blvd. With Bieber's infamous white Ferrari stopped, Guerra crossed Sepulveda to take pictures, without knowing that Bieber hadn't actually been in the car. California Highway Patrol (CHP) urged Guerra to move away from the car. In an attempt to cross back onto the sidewalk to return to safety, Guerra was struck by another car and killed.
Today, Bieber released the following statement on the incident:
"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."Investigations of the incident are reportedly ongoing.
Many celebrities have commented on the incident, including a friend of Gomez's, Miley Cyrus, 20, who said on Twitter, "Hope this paparazzi/JB accident brings on some changes in '13 [sic] Paparazzi are dangerous! Wasn't Princess Di enough of a wake up call?!"
Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who has been affected by this horrible accident.