LOS ANGELES – The Widow of Kobe bryant, Vanessa bryant, said he pleaded with the Los Angeles County sheriff to make sure no one took pictures of the scene of the helicopter crash, which killed the Lakers star and his daughter Gianna.
After Sheriff Alex Villanueva confirmed that her husband, their teenage daughter, along with seven other people, were killed, he asked Vanessa if he could do something for her, according to a transcript of a statement obtained by USA TODAY Sports on Saturday about their demand.
“And I said, ‘If you can’t bring my husband and baby back, please make sure no one takes pictures of you. Please secure the area,'” Vanessa said during the statement.
Villanueva momentarily apologized and assured him that the area was secured when he returned.
Bryant, whose federal lawsuit against the county alleges invasion of privacy, has claimed in court documents that she has experienced “severe emotional distress” that has compounded the trauma of losing her husband and 13-year-old daughter. The lawsuit alleges that first responders, including firefighters and sheriff’s deputies, shared photos of Bryant’s body and passed “photos of the dead children, parents and coaches.”
Bryant and the others were killed on January 26, 2020, when the helicopter they were aboard, en route to a women’s basketball tournament, crashed in the hills west of Los Angeles amid foggy weather. Federal safety officials blamed the pilot’s error for the crash.
Los Angeles County seeks to impose psychiatric evaluations for Vanessa Bryant and others to determine whether they actually suffered emotional distress. Bryant’s attorneys argue in court documents that the tests are “cruel,” while the county contends that the tests are “a routine part of the discovery process.”