Every young star has to go through certain rites of passage: your first starring role, landing a platinum debut album, first fake tabloid headline. On Saturday, Justin Bieber earned his stripes by allegedly getting into an altercation with a paparazzi photographer.
According to TMZ, Bieber is a suspect in a criminal battery investigation after he got into it with a photographer on Sunday at a mall in Calabasas, California, where the singer lives. The site reported that the unnamed photographer was attempting to snap a shot of Bieber when a physical altercation took place between them.
The photographer called 911 after the incident, but when the police arrived Bieber and girlfriend Selena Gomez had already left the scene. The camera man was transported to a local hospital by ambulance after complaining of pain in his upper torso and released a short time later.
He filed a police report naming Bieber,18, as the culprit and police are now investigating the incident as a misdemeanor battery case and are looking to speak to Bieber, Gomez and other witnesses. Police were told by witnesses that the photographer had been blocking Bieber’s car as the “Boyfriend” singer was trying to leave the mall. After Bieber exited his car and asked the man to move, a scuffle broke out when he would not.
A spokesperson for Bieber had no comment.
TMZ also reported that several witnesses claimed that after the fight a lawyer approached the shooter and said he could get “a lot of money” out of the incident and advised the paparazzo to call for an ambulance and file a police report.