Celebs Urge Crackdown After Paparazzo’s Death

LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — There are new calls from celebrities for tougher laws on the paparazzi following the death of a photographer who was trying to snap pictures of Justin Bieber’s Ferrari.

Bieber issued a statement through his representative on Wednesday, saying in part:

“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.”

The photographer has not been officially identified by police, but TMZ identified him as Chris Guerra, 29.

Guerra was relatively new on the Hollywood scene. According to veteran paparazzo Rick Mendoza, Guerra moved to L.A. from Las Vegas with his brother last year to create a better life.

“One thing I’ll say about this kid… very humble and very grateful for every paycheck he got,” Mendoza told KTLA.

And it was a big paycheck that Guerra was hoping for when he stopped on a windy section of Sepulveda Boulevard Tuesday night to photograph Bieber’s car.

It was about 6 p.m. when a CHP officer pulled over the sports car on the 405 Freeway.

Officers say Guerra stopped his car on Sepulveda near Getty Center Drive and crossed the street to take pictures. Bieber was not in the car at the time.

Police say they told Guerra to return to his car. When he did, he was struck and killed by an SUV.

Celebrities have long expressed concern at paparazzi looking to get big money shots at the expense, they say, of safety.

But Mendoza, who appears in an upcoming film called “Celebrity,” says that as long as there is money to be made, aggressive photographers will look to cash in.

If Bieber had actually been inside the Ferrari being photographed, the picture could have been worth $100,000, according to Mendoza

And if the pop star had been arrested or caught breaking the law, he added, “We’re talking about $200,000, $300,000 now, becasue that’s going to circulate the world twice.”

Bieber’s call to action did get some support from another paparazzi target, singer and actress Miley Cyrus.

She wrote on Twitter that she hoped the accident “brings on some changes in ’13 Paparazzi are dangerous!”

There are questions about the constitutionality of anti-paparazzi laws, however.

The L.A. city attorney’s office was recently unsuccessful in its attempt to use a new state law against a paparazzo who sped on the 101 Freeway last year to capture Bieber receiving a ticket.

Passed in 2010, the law punishes paparazzi driving dangerously to obtain images they intend to sell.

But a judge said the law violated 1st Amendment protections, potentially affecting wedding photographers or those speeding to events where celebrities are present.

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13 comments

  • Jessica

    If the paparazzi want photos, then get permission…leave celebrities alone!!! They are people, just like you or me…if you don't want to be photographed, then shouldn't celebrities have the same consideration? I'm sorry about the paparazzo that lost his life but he shouldn't have been doing what he was doing…

    • RICK

      ALL THE POLICE HAD TO DO WAS PROTECT AND SERVE AND CITE HIM A CITATION, NOT SEND HIM TO THE BUSY STREET HE CAME FROM, HE WAS CONSENTRATING ON THE PHOTO AND THE POLICE INTIMIDATED HIM AND CLOUDED HIS VISION……

  • E.L.Woody

    "Police say they told Guerra to return to his car. When he did, he was struck and killed by an SUV."

    So he was following police orders, under police scrutiny and control, when he was struck and killed? Are not the police who gave the order to cross back across the street responsible for the results of their orders? Should they have stopped traffic to guard any pedestrian making a crossing under their orders?

    • ricky

      Yes of course the po po is resposible for crossing and stopping traffic for a pedestrian they order to j walk – but in this instance the paparazzi was being discriminated against by the lapd.. the cop gave orders for the kid to cross into and onto a deadly roadway- And the cop was inadvertedly responsible for not excersizing caution and saftey measures for him..if it was anyone else he would have probably stopped the traffic somehow to allow them to cross safely. but since it was a photographer who has the right to take photos in public places. ( freedom of the press law–) he just treated him like his life wasnt worth anything.

      • E.L.Woody

        Exactly, the word paparazzi has been used to stereotype all celebrity photographers as law breakers, which is certainly not justified, and to justify discrimination against them. Had Chris Guerra not been sent back across the street at the direction of the Highway Patrol, he might be alive today.

  • ricky mouse

    I agree that some paparazzi are deffinately overly agressive and do probably get on the nerves of the spoiled rich bratty overpaid celebs. But if they dont want there image to be seen in magazines or on tv then why did they sign up to be a public entertainer in the first place- Maybe if celebs would do more press junkets or press conferences to satisfy the public and paparazzi- and give up a few images in a calm setting or situation, and not speed around town in mazarattis and ferraris and act as if they were gods gift to mankind or too good – maybe the paparazzi wouldnt feel like they have to get that money shot-Most paparazzi that I know are all nic people working their tails off- and – and most I know dont follow people around all day and night- most of them go to scheduled events or public places like clubs or restraunts- where celeb whores go to so they can see themselves in the magazines the next week –