(Photo: Reuters/Brendan McDermid)
Justin Bieber has called for change in legislation to "protect the lives and safety of celebrities, police officers, innocent public bystanders, and the photographers themselves." His statement comes after a paparazzo was struck and killed while photographing Bieber's car.
The incident occurred Tuesday night as a photographer thought he saw Bieber sitting in his car, which was parked on an off-ramp in Los Angeles. The paparazzo crossed the street to get a better photo, and managed to get a few shots of the vehicle; Bieber was not inside at the time.
Police told the photographer to go back to his own vehicle at least twice during the encounter. They had pulled Bieber's vehicle over for an unspecified reason and were not happy with the photographer's actions. As he walked back to his car across freeway, he was struck and killed by an oncoming car.
"He was just a kid," a friend of the victim told KTLA. "People misunderstand what's going on here. He was just like any of you guys – a reporter. Maybe it was a different field. He was specializing in celebrity news because that's where he thought the money is. Unfortunately, the money's no longer there."
Authorities have not released the name of the victim, but Bieber has been quite vocal since the accident.
"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," Bieber said in a statement.
Bieber is no stranger to being chased by the paparazzi. In July, a group of them chased the star and flew past Los Angeles city councilman Dennis Zine in the pursuit. Zine told CNN at the time he was fearful that someone would be killed in the chase at the time.