Paparazzo killed after taking shots of Bieber car

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 2, 2013 at 3:05 pm •  Published: January 2, 2013
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — In the world of paparazzi, one image of the rich or famous can be like winning the lottery. But the hunt for that shot can be dangerous — even deadly.

A photographer was struck by a car and killed on Tuesday as he darted across a street after snapping pictures of Justin Bieber's white Ferrari — and the teen heartthrob wasn't even in the car.

The incident brought the dangers of paparazzi's often aggressive work into harsh focus, and prompted some celebrities to renew their calls for tougher laws to rein in their pursuers.

However, at least one previous attempt has been stymied by First Amendment protections.

Authorities have withheld the name of the 29-year-old photographer killed on Tuesday pending notification of relatives.

In a statement, Bieber said his prayers were with the photographer's family.

"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," Bieber said in the statement released by Island Def Jam Music Group.

Much of Hollywood was abuzz about the death.

Miley Cyrus sent several tweets, saying paparazzi act like "fools" and the unfortunate accident was "bound to happen."

"Hope this paparazzi/JB accident brings on some changes in '13," Cyrus said on her Twitter page. "Paparazzi are dangerous! Wasn't Princess Di enough of a wake-up call?!"

Paparazzi roaming the streets of Southern California have been commonplace for more than a decade as the shutterbugs looked to land exclusive shots that can fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Industry veterans recalled incidents where paparazzi chasing celebrities have been injured, but they couldn't remember a photographer being killed while working.

"Here in the state of California, I'm surprised this hasn't happened before," said Giles Harrison, a celebrity photographer and owner of London Entertainment Group.

Harrison is familiar with the backlash against paparazzi. He and another photographer were convicted of misdemeanor false imprisonment and sentenced to jail for boxing in Arnold Schwarzenegger and his family as they sat in their Hummer in 1998.

Citing that incident and the death of Princess Diana, the state Legislature passed its first anti-paparazzi measure a year later. It created hefty civil penalties that could be paid to stars whose privacy was invaded.

Six months ago, a paparazzo was charged with reckless driving in a high-speed pursuit of Bieber and with violating a separate, 2010 state law that toughened punishment for those who drive dangerously in pursuit of photos for commercial gain.

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