The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is looking into reports that deputies shared graphic photos of the scene of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and eight other people, the department confirmed to the Los Angeles Times' Alene Tchekmedyian and Paul Pringle on Thursday.
Two public safety sources told Tchekmedyian and Pringle that deputies in Los Angeles County distributed photos of the crash and the victims' remains. One source said he noticed a photo of the crash on another official's phone in a setting entirely unrelated to the investigation.
It's not known how the unidentified deputies came to be in possession of the photos, or whether they took the photos themselves; however, first responders began discussing the spread of the photos two days after the crash, one source said.
Bryant and his daughter Gianna died Jan. 26 when the helicopter they were traveling in crashed into the side of a hill in Calabasas, California. The aircraft was en route to a youth basketball game at Bryant's Mamba Sports Academy in nearby Thousand Oaks. Other players on the team, members of their families, a coach, and the pilot were also on board. They were all killed in the crash.
In a radio message with air traffic controllers, pilot Ara Zobayan said he was attempting to climb above a cloud layer before the helicopter suddenly dove more than 1,000 feet, the National Transportation Safety Board confirmed in January, according to ESPN's Paula Lavigne.
Bryant's widow, Vanessa Bryant, filed a lawsuit Monday against the company that employed the pilot and operated the helicopter involved in the crash. A memorial was also held Monday at Staples Center for Bryant and Gianna.