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Kobe Bryant crash photos: L.A. County Sheriff says 8 deputies shared pictures

Graphic Photos Of Kobe Crash Shared—Investigation Launched
WATCH: Leaked photos of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others have been deleted and the deputies that shared them are facing administrative action, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.

A Los Angeles County sheriff says it’s believed eight deputies were involved in sharing photos of Kobe Bryant‘s crash site in Calabasas.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva said he was “shocked,” calling it a “punch to the gut” during a press video interview, shared by ABC 7.

He added that the photos have been deleted and those involved in distributing them are being investigated and face possible disciplinary action.

While no specific suspect names have been released, Villanueva said there were only two groups of people who should have been taking photos at the Jan. 26 scene — the county coroner’s office and National Transportation Safety Board investigators.

READ MORE: Vanessa Bryant ‘devastated’ by reported sharing of graphic Kobe Bryant helicopter crash photos

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“That is the only two groups of people,” he said. “Anybody outside of that would be unauthorized. They’d be illicit photos.”

Bryant died in the mountainside helicopter crash along with his and Vanessa Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna; Christina Mauser; Payton and Sarah Chester; John, Keri and Alyssa Altobelli; and helicopter pilot Ara Zobayan.

Kobe and Gianna Bryant were buried Feb. 7 during a private ceremony at Pacific View Memorial Park in Corona del Mar, the Los Angeles Times reported.

On Monday, Vanessa’s lawyer Gary C. Robb released a statement saying the widow is “absolutely devastated” by the photo-sharing reports.

Vanessa Bryant posts touching tribute to her daughter Gianna
Vanessa Bryant posts touching tribute to her daughter Gianna

Robb alleged that deputies shared the photos. That information has since been confirmed by Villanueva.

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“This is an unspeakable violation of human decency, respect, and of the privacy rights of the victims and their families,” Robb said in the statement.

According to Robb, Bryant went to the sheriff’s office following the Jan. 26 crash, which claimed the lives of nine people, to designate the mountainous area a “no-fly zone” and guard it from photographers.

“This was of critical importance to her as she desired to protect the dignity of all the victims and their families. At that time, Sheriff Alex Villanueva assured us all measures would be put in place to protect the families’ privacy, and it is our understanding that he has worked hard to honour those requests,” Robb continued, according to CBS News.

READ MORE: Vanessa Bryant sues helicopter operator for deaths of Kobe, Gianna

An investigation has since been launched inside the sheriff’s department after a Los Angeles Times report said deputies were sharing graphic images of the scene.The Los Angeles County Fire Department told CBS that a review of reports that firefighters also shared images was underway.

meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca