Two days after a paparazzo died trying to get a photo of pop star Justin Bieber, the L.A. County coroner's office has identifed the photographer as 29-year-old Christopher James Guerra.
On New Year's Day, Guerra had pulled over on L.A.'s busy Sepulveda Boulevard near the Getty Center Drive exit of the 405 Freeway to photograph a traffic stop involving a Ferrari registered to Bieber, according to the LAPD. He was crossing Sepulveda heading east, away from the traffic stop, when he was hit by a 2007 Toyota Highlander that was traveling south at about 5:50 p.m.
"It could happen to any one of us," veteran paparazzo Rick Mendoza told TODAY. "We’re dealing with a billion-dollar industry called Hollywood, and this ain’t no joke. And it is money that drives you."
And that money that might not have amounted to much. Longtime celebrity photographer Dave Allocca and multiple industry sources told NBC News that a plain shot of Bieber in his Ferarri likely would have fetched no more than $100. As it turns out, Bieber wasn't even in the car at the time of the accident.
Bieber issued a statement Wednesday saying that "hopefully this tragedy will finally inspire meaningful legislation." Miley Cyrus tweeted similarly, "Hope this paparazzi/JB accident brings on some changes in ’13 Paparazzi are dangerous! Wasn’t Princess DI enough of a wake up call?!"
Gene Blevins / Reuters
Los Angeles police look over the car that struck and killed a celebrity photographer who was trying to take photographs of a Ferrari registered to pop star Justin Bieber.
Police described the accident involving Guerra at the scene on Tuesday night. "While the highway patrolman was conducting his investigation of the speeding violation of the Ferrari (that Guerra was photographing), he noticed a (white male) cross four lanes of traffic and was taking pictures of the traffic stop," LAPD Sgt. Rudy Lopez said.
"He told him to get back to his vehicle, the individual refused to, he had to order him twice," the officer continued. "Eventually the individual with the camera did turn around, walked back in the direction of the vehicle, [and] in the roadway he was struck by an uninvolved vehicle."
Guerra was taken by ambulance to nearby Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 6:20 p.m.
The 69-year-old woman behind the wheel of the car that hit Guerra has been cooperating with authorities, police told the Los Angeles Times. It's unlikely that she'll face charges in connection with the accident.