Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva appeared to criticize TMZ at a press conference addressing the shocking death of Kobe Bryant and eight others Sunday.
Villanueva said that officials believed nine people were on board the helicopter that crashed in Calabasas, killing the 41-year-old NBA legend, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other passengers. The sheriff declined to identify any of the deceased by name, warning against speculation ahead of the coroner’s determination.
“There was wide speculation as to who their identities are, however it would be entirely inappropriate right now to identify anyone by name, until the coroner has made the identification through their very deliberative process, and until they’ve made notifications to next of kin,” Villanueva said.
“It would be extremely disrespectful to understand that your loved ones perished and you learned about it from TMZ,” he added. “That is just wholly inappropriate. So we’re not going to be going there.”
TMZ was first to report that NBA star Kobe Bryant was killed in the crash.
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