The family of Christopher Guerra – the paparazzo struck and killed by a car while trying to photograph Justin Bieber's Ferrari – is suing the California Highway Patrol.
It's been nearly three months since the New Year's Day incident, when the freelance photographer died trying to take pictures of Bieber's car, which was being driven by rapper Lil Twist, after it had been stopped by a CHP officer for speeding. Now Vicky Guerra, the mother of the 29-year-old victim, has announced she's filing a lawsuit, alleging that the officer caused her son's death by forcing him into traffic.
"He was somebody in authority and he was ordering my son to do something that was dangerous. He said it was dangerous," Vicky said, via KABC Los Angeles, during a press conference at her lawyer's office Thursday. "Twice he ordered him and my son said no. Finally 'OK I'll do it.' And what happens? Chris gets killed."
Immediately following the incident, the CHP said the officer ordered Chris to leave the scene of the traffic stop because he had crossed the street illegally and was in a dangerous area. As he walked away, he was struck by a 2007 Toyota Highlander, which was driven by a 69-year-old woman. He was pronounced dead at the hospital 30 minutes later.
The attorney for the Guerra family, Donald Karpel, said he is working to obtain the video footage from the dash cam of the police vehicle to prove the officers forced Chris into a dangerous situation.
"We believe that when the CHP officer approached the fence to confront Chris, he either had his hand on the gun or maybe pulled a Taser gun," Karpel said.
Meanwhile, the Guerra family also suggested that Chris was actually hit by more than one car – and asked the public for help in finding the other driver.
"If anyone knows anything, any information, or even if the driver wants to clear his conscience and come forward, that would be the right thing to do, because you will live with this for the rest of your life," Vicky said. "Chris deserves justice because the story has not been told."
While Bieber himself wasn’t directly involved in the incident — he loaned his car to his friend — he released a statement at the time expressing his condolences for Guerra’s loved ones and urged for safer methods within the paparazzi community. He has not yet spoken about the lawsuit – and his reps have not yet responded to omg!'s request for comment.
The CHP has not yet responded to comment about the lawsuit either.
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