Justin Bieber performs onstage during Power 96.1's Jingle Ball 2012 at the Philips Arena on December 12, 2012 in Atlanta. (Photo by Chris McKay/Getty Images for Jingle Ball 2012)
Pop idol Justin Bieber offered prayers Wednesday -- and called for tougher laws against paparazzi -- after a photographer was killed on a freeway while trying to get a picture of his Ferrari.
Police in Los Angeles said the 18-year-old Canadian-born heart throb was not in the luxury sports car when it was pulled over for speeding on New Year's Day and the unidentified photographer was hit by an oncoming vehicle.
"While I was not present nor directly involved with this tragic accident, my thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victim," said Bieber in a statement relayed to several US showbiz websites.
"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," he added.
Los Angeles photographer Thibault Mauvilain told reporters at the scene that the fatality was a friend named Chris who was a photographer but "not a paparazzo -- he was just another kid from New Mexico."
Bieber, who performed on New Year's Eve at Times Square in New York, has a history of run-ins with paparazzi. In May he allegedly kicked and punched a photographer in a parking lot, but no charges were filed.