NBA star Kobe Bryant’s widow Vanessa Bryant has revealed in an affidavit how she learned of the helicopter crash that killed him and their daughter Gianna, as well as other details of the tragic day that have never been made public.
Vanessa talked about the ill-fated events of January 26, 2020 in a statement before her Los Angeles County lawsuit, which she is suing because deputies shared horrific photos of the crash scene with each other and a bartender.
She said in the statement that LA Sheriff Alex Villanueva promised to keep the scene of the accident private after telling her that Kobe and Gianna were dead, and that she inferred the grim condition of the bodies when she recovered the clothes she had left behind. wore.
Under questioning by a prosecutor, Vanessa said she first learned of the crash, which happened around 9:45 a.m., when her assistant knocked on the door around 11:30 a.m. and told her that a crash had occurred.
NBA star Kobe Bryant’s widow Vanessa Bryant has revealed in an affidavit how she learned of the helicopter crash that killed him and their daughter Gianna last year
Kobe Bryant is seen with Gianna (top left) as well as his wife and other children
“She told me there was an accident and there were five survivors,” Vanessa testified from Newport Beach above Zoom on Oct. 12, according to a transcript obtained by USA Today. “And I asked her if Gianna and Kobe were okay. And she said she wasn’t sure. She didn’t know.’
When she learned that there were survivors — which turned out to be untrue, as all nine people on board were killed instantly in the impact — Vanessa said she initially assumed Kobe and Gianna had survived.
But when she tried unsuccessfully to call her husband, notifications began appearing on her phone expressing condolences for Kobe’s death. It was hours before Vanessa officially learned that Kobe, 41, and Gianna, 13, had died in the crash.
She said she rushed to an airport to try and get a helicopter to the accident site, but was told weather conditions would not allow it to fly.
Vanessa also revealed that she recovered the clothes Kobe and Gianna were wearing during the crash, out of concern that someone might take pictures of them.
“They suffered a lot,” Bryant said during the statement, according to the New York Times.
“And if their clothes represent the state of their bodies, I can’t imagine how someone could be so insensitive and disrespect them or their friends and just share the images as if they were animals on the street.”
Vanessa said in the statement that LA Sheriff Alex Villanueva swore to keep the crash scene private after telling her Kobe and Gianna were dead
“The impact of the helicopter crash was so damaging, I just don’t understand how someone can have no respect for life and compassion and instead choose to photograph inanimate and helpless individuals for their own sick amusement,” she said.
A charter helicopter was transporting Kobe, Gianna and other youth basketball players and coaches from Orange County to Thousand Oaks when the pilot became disoriented in the fog and crashed in Calabasas.
“My life will never be the same without my husband and daughter,” she said.
Vanessa’s federal lawsuit alleges that first responders, including firefighters and sheriffs, shared photos of Kobe Bryant’s body with a bartender and passed on “free photos of the dead children, parents and coaches.”
She alleges in the lawsuit that she experienced “severe emotional stress” that exacerbated the trauma of the loss of her husband and 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.
The lawsuit alleges that first responders, including firefighters and sheriffs, shared photos of Kobe Bryant’s body with a bartender and passed on “free photos of the dead children, parents and coaches.”
The indictment alleges that deputies distributed the photos to each other for free, and that one of them showed a photo on his phone to a bartender at Baja California Bar and Grill, who then loudly announced to customers and staff that he had just uploaded an image. of Kobe Bryant’s. body.
Firefighters work at the site of a helicopter crash where former NBA basketball player Kobe Bryant died in Calabasas on January 26, 2020
Kobe Bryant with daughter Gianna. A charter helicopter was transporting the two and other youth basketball players and coaches from Orange County to Thousand Oaks when the pilot became disoriented in the fog and crashed in Calabasas.
Los Angeles County states that while the behavior was inappropriate, showing a photo to a member of the public does not constitute an invasion of privacy.
The province says the photos have not been shared with the media or posted on the internet and thus “have not been publicly distributed.”
In her statement, Vanessa said she begged the Los Angeles County Sheriff to make sure no one would take photos from the crash site, and he assured the area was secured.
After Sheriff Alex Villanueva confirmed that her husband, their teenage daughter and seven others had been murdered, he asked Vanessa Bryant if he could do anything for her.
“And I said, ‘If you can’t bring my husband and baby back, make sure nobody takes pictures of them. Please secure the area,'” Vanessa Bryant said during the deposition.
‘And he said, ‘I will.’ And I said, “No, I want you to come on the phone right now and I want you to make sure you secure the area.”
Villanueva, she said, apologized and reassured her that the area was secured when he returned.
A message requesting comment from Villanueva was not returned.
Villanueva previously said eight deputies had allegedly taken or shared graphic photos of the helicopter crash, but he ordered them to be removed.
Los Angeles County seeks to enforce psychiatric evaluations for Vanessa Bryant and others to determine whether they have truly suffered emotional distress.
Bryant’s attorneys state in court files that the investigations are “cruel,” while the county says the investigations are “a routine part of the discovery process.”