UPDATE: The deceased photographer has been identified as 29-year-old Chris Guetta. The driver of the vehicle who struck Guetta was a 69-year-old woman, not a 29-year-old as previously reported. The Los Angeles Times reports that it is unlikely she will face charges regarding the incident.
EARLIER: A photographer was killed after being hit by a car while attempting to snag photos of Justin Bieber in his white Ferrari on Tuesday evening in Los Angeles. Bieber, however, was not in fact inside his car, which he had loaned to a friend.
According to the authorities, the photographer arrived shortly after Bieber's car was pulled over by the California Highway Patrol, the Los Angeles Times reports. The photographer was struck by an oncoming car as he crossed Sepulveda Boulevard back to his own vehicle after snapping some shots of Bieber's sports car. Police tell the Los Angeles Times that the 29-year-old driving the offending car is being interviewed but no arrests have been made.
The New Year's Day tragedy has reinvigorated the debate surrounding tighter laws regarding paparazzi's access to celebrities. Following a high speed car chase involving Bieber and a paparazzi in July, Los Angeles city councilman Dennis Zine, who is in favor of harsher punishments towards photographers who break the law while trying to get their golden shots, told CNN the incident was a "tragedy waiting to happen." As of Tuesday, his prediction came to pass.
In a statement issued to CNN, Bieber expressed his hope that this will be a wakeup call for paparazzi engaging in dangerous and unlawful behavior. "While I was not present nor directly involved with this tragic accident, my thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victim," Bieber says. "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."
Miley Cyrus, who is also a target for intense paparazzi scrutiny, tweeted her support of stricter legislation on Wednesday. "Hope this paparazzi/JB accident brings on some changes in '13 Paparazzi are dangerous! Wasn't Princess Di enough of a wake up call?!" [sic] she writes.
Follow Abbey Stone on Twitter @abbeystone
[Photo Credit: FameFlynet Pictures]
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Michael Jackson's family has confirmed the King of Pop will be laid to rest at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills two hours before his memorial at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
A private family ceremony will take place at about 8AM.
Jackson's grave will be close to that of his grandmother, who was buried at the cemetery in 1990, and stars like Liberace, Bette Davis and Andy Gibb.
The King of Pop's burial suit has been designed by his longtime costumers, Dennis Tompkins and Michael Bush, and Jackson will reportedly be laid to rest in a replica of James Brown's bronze casket.
Meanwhile, a row continues to brew over the expense of Jackson's funeral and memorial — and who will pay for it.
Reports suggest the burial and tribute could cost Los Angeles tax payers $2.5 million — a figure outspoken councilman Dennis Zine insists the Jackson family and memorial organizers AEG Live should cover.
He says, "We have a number of funerals and memorial services throughout the city of Los Angeles; never do we need to bring in over 2,000 police officers ... Our sympathies extend to the Jackson family and all the fans ... but it's AEG Entertainment — they're the promoters, they're the ones who are gonna do this concert, they're the ones who operate Staples (Center). They're the ones who need to put up the dollars for a city that is over $530 million in debt ... We don't have the funds to cover this massive operation."
Zine goes so far as to suggest the memorial poses a terrorist threat to Los Angeles.
He tells U.S. news network MSNBC, "There are people who know this is going to be a worldwide (television) broadcast and if someone wants to make a statement, look at the audience they may have ... This has become a worldwide event."
MORE NEWS: Liz Taylor Pulls Out of Jackson Memorial "Whoopla"
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