Family of dead photographer: 'We are not upset with Justin Bieber'
Chantel Brown, sister of freelance photographer Christopher James Guerra, spoke to celebrity news site Celebuzz about her brother's death, calling reports that Bieber felt "harassed and stalked" by Guerra "upsetting."
“My brother ... he was just not that kind of person," she said. "If anything, he was respectful of celebrities."
Still, Brown said her family does not blame Guerra's death on the 18-year-old pop sensation.
"We are not upset with Justin Bieber," she said.
Guerra was struck by an SUV the evening of Jan. 1 as he returned to his car parked along Sepulveda Boulevard near Getty Center Drive. A CHP officer had pulled Bieber's white Ferrari over on the 405 Freeway, and Guerra stopped to take pictures.Sources familiar with the investigation told The Times that the CHP told Guerra to leave the area before he was struck.
One of Bieber's friends was driving the sports car, authorities said. Bieber was not in the vehicle.
Bieber called the death a "tragic accident" and said he hoped it would spur new paparazzi laws.
"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 a statement released by his spokesperson. "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."
Brown told Celebuzz her brother "loved his work."
"I want people to know that my brother was a caring and loving person and that his friends and family miss him so much," she said. "I just cannot believe that he is gone."
A funeral for Guerra was scheduled Thursday in his native Modesto, Celebuzz reported.
— Kate Mather
Photo: A memorial for Christopher Guerra sits along Sepulveda Boulevard near Getty Center Drive. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times