Family of Dead Paparazzo Speak Out: 'We Don't Blame Bieber' (EXCLUSIVE)
Photographer who was killed on New Year’s Day following Justin Bieber’s Ferarri will be laid to rest today.
The family of photographer Christopher James Guerra, who died trying to get a photo of Justin Bieber, do not blame the pop star for his death.
In their first interview, the sister of the freelancer paparazzo, speaking on behalf of the family, said they wanted their much loved son and brother to be remembered as someone who was "respectful" of the celebrities he photographed.
“We are a close family who are having to deal with a tragic event; we are trying to heal from this,” Chantel Brown told Celebuzz.
“It was upsetting 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.
"Chris loved his work and got on well with people; the singer Drake even asked Chris to start taking photographs of him because he really liked him.”
In the wake of the incident, Bieber issued a statement saying that "hopefully this tragedy will finally inspire meaningful legislation."
Despite the apparent blame game, Chantel Brown said the family does not hold any ill will toward Bieber, 18.
“We are not upset with Justin Bieber,” she said.
On New Year's Day, Guerra had pulled over on L.A.'s busy Sepulveda Boulevard near the Getty Center Drive exit of the 405 Freeway to photograph a traffic stop involving a Ferrari registered to Bieber, police said.
He was crossing Sepulveda heading east, away from the traffic stop, when he was hit by a 2007 Toyota Highlander that was traveling in the opposite direction.
There, Chantel said, the enthusiastic photographer will be remembered as someone who fell into the industry in Hollywood by chance. He first got interested in the media after he worked as a paperboy on his local paper, The Modesto Bee.
Years later, Guerra started to mix with celebrities and photographers while working at upscale Green Valley Ranch Resort in Las Vegas.
He then decided to move to Los Angeles and work alongside a friend, who was already working in the business.
“I want people to know that my brother was a caring and loving person and that his friends and family miss him so much,” she said.
“I can still hear him saying his favorite phrase ‘It’s Golden’, it’s Golden’ – I just cannot believe that he is gone.”
“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.”
Guerra’s friends raised over $4000 to help cover funeral arrangements and the family has designed a special t-shirt to honor him --incorporating the image of a "paparazzi style angel," Chantel said.