BB gun shooting at Britney Spears sighting to go on `front burner'

Monday, August 8th 2005, 1:10 pm
By: News On 6

MALIBU, Calif. (AP) _ A sheriff's detective will be assigned to investigate the BB gun shooting of a photographer who was staking out Britney Spears over the weekend.

Such incidents usually draw little attention from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, but authorities say they were swamped with phone calls.

``Because of the media attention, we'll probably put this on the front burner to settle the whole thing,'' said sheriff's Sgt. Robert Knudson.

A detective will be assigned to the case Monday, authorities said.

The photographer, Brad Diaz, was shot in the leg while standing in the street 150 feet to 200 feet from a home where Spears was believed to be attending a baby shower in her honor, authorities said. It was unclear whether the 23-year-old pop star, who does not own the property, was inside at the time.

Diaz, who was hospitalized and released several hours later, claimed the BB came from the direction of the home, Knudson said. Spears' bodyguards told authorities they weren't involved in the incident.

A message left with Spears' publicist wasn't returned early Monday.

Though the shooting ``doesn't even rise to the level of assault with a deadly weapon,'' Knudson said, sheriff's dispatch operators received nearly two dozen phone calls from news organizations following the incident.