On March 9, 1997, Christopher Wallace, better known as Biggie Smalls and The Notorious B.I.G., was killed by a drive-by shooter in Los Angeles.
Kris Herzog (above, far right), the owner of The Bodyguard Group of Beverly Hills in Los Angeles, has revealed to CrimeFeed why he believes that Wallace, and many other performers, don’t take their safety seriously enough — and what they should do to better protect themselves.
Herzog’s past clients include Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Jessica Alba, Paris Hilton (above, middle), Lindsay Lohan, Kim Kardashian, Britney Spears, Eva Longoria, and Jack Nicholson, and the company has maintained a “perfect record” of over 50 years with no client injuries.
Herzog’s company has been exclusively hiring veterans since they began in 1967, when Herzog’s father met John Wayne on Catalina Island.
The biggest mistake that Wallace and other celebrities make, according to Herzog, is “hiring big, dumb thug bodyguards who can’t do anything except react after you get murdered in front of them.”
“The guy may give you a false sense of security and look tough, but he doesn’t know what he’s doing,” Herzog claims.
He cites the case of singer Christina Grimmie, who was fatally shot by 27-year-old Kevin James Loibl while she signed autographs after a concert performance in Orlando as another example of a celebrity whom he believes would have survived if she were being guarded by properly trained professionals.
He also states that if he had been protecting former client Kim Kardashian while she was in Paris, she would never have been tied up and robbed.Related: French Police Arrest 16 In Connection With Kim Kardashian Robbery In Paris
He also blames the news media, who he says “have blood on their hands, because they make mass shooters heroes,” and publicists who care more about image than safety. Often, Herzog says, celebrities are also more concerned with their images than their physical safety.
Over the years, many people have speculated that Tupac could have survived being shot if he had been wearing a bulletproof vest. But Herzog reveals that Tupac’s vest may not have offered real protection. “In the movies, they put cardboard inside a bulletproof vest so that the actors don’t have to walk around in heavy gear all day,” he says. “That’s the type of vest Tupac had. I asked him about it once, and he laughed and said, ‘My body is part of my image.'” He says that his company has refused to guard the rapper in the past because he would not follow the rules.
“People only hire me when they’re really scared,” Herzog says, admitting that his firm’s $100 per hour price tag, with seven men on duty and a 10-hour minimum, is high.
The secret to his company’s success, according to Herzog, is requiring that all of their clients strictly adhere to a plan he calls “the protective bubble.”
“The protective bubble says that no one that you have not screened for a weapon gets close enough to your client to draw a weapon and shoot and murder your client whether the weapon is a knife, a bomb, or a firearm,” he told CrimeFeed.
The protective bubble is made up of five layers, the first of which is “intelligence and advance work.” This involves casing the locations where the celebrity will be. Herzog says the goal of the agents doing this job should be to “be everybody’s friend.”
“Intelligence guys need to be beloved by every waiter, valet, and anyone else who can tell you when someone who’s not supposed to be there shows up,” he explains.
The next step, he says, is planning the logistical and transportation issues — the “who, what, where, why, when, and how.”
“Everything from making sure that you minimize your chance of being stuck in traffic, to where the sun is coming from, and the glare on the windshield, to traveling in an armored vehicle. That way, if you get pinned in the traffic, you still survive the shooting,” Herzog says.While en route, agents provide second-by-second intelligence to each other so that they can modify their plan on the go if needed.
The third level happens once the protectee arrives at the site — which Herzog calls “The Kill Box.” “The killer chooses the kill box where he thinks he has the greatest chance of success in an ambush-style attack. And he could have done far more advance work than you did,” he added.
Herzog’s team includes a counter-sniper. “Does that mean we have James Bond on the roof with a rifle? No. It means that I have a couple of people who know how to find James Bond with a rifle before we get out of the armored car,” Herzog explains.
The security team maintains control of the crowd at all times. For example, at an autograph signing or similar event, Herzog says his guards would make an announcement that everyone waiting in line should hold their hands out in front of them. “We tell them that if anyone puts their hand in their pocket, and we think you’re drawing a weapon, unfortunately we’re going to tackle you,” he says. “And we enforce it.”
Herzog’s team will often sweep the area with a metal detector shoved up a sleeve as they wave their hands behind everyone in the crowd. Another secret weapon is a K-9 dog who is trained — by putting a bullet into his favorite squeaky toy — to passively react to the smell.
Next, Herzog said, comes “The Sacrifice Play” — physically stepping between the client and the bullet, or whatever else the assailant is using to try to hurt them.
If all else fails, the final stage involves bodyguards putting their hands on the client and moving them away from danger.
The biggest security threats, in Herzog’s opinion, are shrapnel bombs, a shooter who fires a gun from inside a pocket, and attackers who attempt to drive a car into the bodyguards and the client.
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Main photo: Kris Herzog with Paris Hilton [Kris Herzog]