The family of paparazzo Christopher James Guerra, who died on New Year’s Day trying to get a picture of Justin Bieber, don’t blame the singer for the photographer’s death, Celebuzz is reporting. In the family’s first interview about Guerra’s death, his sister, who spoke on behalf of the freelancer paparazzo’s family, said they wanted him to be remembered as someone who was respectful of the celebrities he photographed.
Guerra’s sister, Chantel Brown, said their family is close, and they’re “having to deal with a tragic event; we are trying to heal from this.” While she added that their family isn’t upset with Bieber, it was hurtful “when we read reports that Justin felt ‘harassed and stalked’ by my brother because he was just not that kind of person, if anything he was respectful of celebrities.”
Brown added that on a previous occasion, her brother even helped Bieber find his hotel when he got lost in Los Angeles. She also said that Guerra loved his work and got along well with people. “Drake even asked Chris to start taking photographs of him because he really liked him,” Brown also said.
Bieber issued a statement after the incident, saying “hopefully this tragedy will finally inspire meaningful legislation.” But Brown added that neither Bieber or anyone from his team has reached out to her family about the incident.
Guerra died when he pulled over on L.A.’s Sepulveda Boulevard near the Getty Center drive exit of the 406 Freeway. He photographed a traffic stop involving a Ferrari registered to the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ singer, police said. He was crossing Sepulveda, away from the traffic stop, when he was hit by a 2007 Toyota Highlander that was traveling in the opposite direction.
Guerra’s funeral was held yesterday in Mondesto, California. Brown said the family wanted her brother to be remembered for being an enthusiastic photographer, who first became interested in the media after working as a paperboy for The Modesto Bee. He got his start photographing celebrities when he worked at the Green Valley Ranch Resort in Las Vegas, before moving to L.A.
Brown said she last spent time with her brother in November at an autograph convention in Modesto. She added that he was happy with his life.
“Our family has been inundated with messages of support from a lot of different people since Chris’ death and we would like to thank them for that,” Brown said. Guerra’s friends raised over $4,000 to help cover the funeral arrangements. His family also designed a special T-shirt to honor him, incorporating the image of a paparazzi style angel.
Written by: Karen Benardello