– Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department investigators plan to question teenage pop star Justin Bieber after he allegedly hit a photographer at a shopping center near Los Angeles over the weekend, officials said on Monday.
Lieutenant Robert Wiard said the incident happened on Sunday afternoon when Bieber and his girlfriend, teen actress Selena Gomez, were visiting The Commons shopping center in Calabasas. Police responded after the photographer called 911, saying he had been assaulted by the singer.
"Shortly after deputies arrived, they contacted a man who told deputies that as he took pictures of Mr. Bieber, who was also in the company of actress Selena Gomez, he was physically battered by the singer," Wiard said on Monday. "The man stated that Mr. Bieber left with Miss Gomez prior to deputies' arriving on-scene."
The photographer complained of pain and requested medical attention, after which he was taken to an area hospital where he was treated for his injuries. "The victim requested a criminal report be taken regarding the incident and an allegation of misdemeanor Battery report was taken at the scene," Wiard added.
Investigators said they plan to question Bieber and Gomez about the incident and have asked witnesses to contact police.
According to gossip and entertainment news website TMZ.com, quoting unidentified witnesses, the scuffle happened after the photographer blocked Bieber's car as he and his girlfriend were trying to leave. Bieber got out of the car and asked the photographer to move away, which he allegedly refused.
Several witnesses also told TMZ.com that a lawyer approached the photographer after he had been hit and told him that he could get a lot of money out of the incident and advised him to call for an ambulance and file a police report. The website said the photographer complained of pain to his upper torso.
Bieber, who Forbes magazine recently named the third most powerful celebrity in the world, has sold more than 15 million albums since his debut nearly three years ago.