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.
“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.
On Monday, Vanessa’s lawyer Gary C. Robb released a statement saying the widow is “absolutely devastated” by the photo-sharing reports.
Robb alleged that deputies shared the photos. That information has since been confirmed by Villanueva.
“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.