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Entries in Ronni Chasen (6)

Thursday
Dec092010

Ronni Chasen Killing: Harold Smith's Suicide Gun Matched to Publicist's Death 

Photo Courtesy - Eric Charbonneau/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Beverly Hills police believe they have a solid theory behind who murdered Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen, putting an end to the Hollywood mystery.

The gun used to kill Chasen most likely is the same one used by person of interest Harold Martin Smith to kill himself last week, according to preliminary police ballistics tests.

"Preliminarily, we believe Mr. Smith acted alone. We don't believe it was a professional hit," Beverly Hills Police Chief David Snowden said.

Despite coverage that has speculated Chasen was killed as part of an elaborate plot, police now believe Smith, 43, an ex-convict, simply rode a bicycle alongside Chasen's Mercedes Benz and opened fire as she waited to make a left turn off Sunset Boulevard.

"We believe it was a random act, and we believe Mrs. Chasen was going to be the victim of a robbery," Beverly Hills Police Sgt. Mike Publicker said.

Chasen, 64, represented A-list movie stars and promoted some of Hollywood's top films. She was on her way home from the premiere of Burlesque on the night of Nov. 16 when she was killed.

Andrew Blankstein, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, said the Beverly Hills Police Department remains cautious despite what seems to be a break in the case.

"They're not saying that this is a closed case, and one of things that they're going to be looking…for is additional forensic material at the scene, as well as, one of the things that we've heard is that they were examining videotaped surveillance from the neighborhood. So does that surveillance show Mr. Smith either around the crime scene or on his way to the crime scene on his bicycle," Blankstein said.

Skeptics who have followed the case closely might find it hard to believe that one man on a bicycle could carry out this killing.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec082010

Harold Smith Suicide Gun Likely Used to Murder Hollywood Publicist Ronni Chasen, Police Say

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- The gun used to kill Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen most likely is the same one that a "person of interest," Harold Martin Smith, killed himself with last week, according to preliminary police ballistics tests.

"Preliminarily, we believe it was a random act, and we believe Mrs. Chasen was going to be the victim of a robbery," Beverly Hills Police Sgt. Mike Publicker said.

Chasen, 64, who represented A-list movie stars and promoted some of Hollywood's top films, was driving to her Beverly Hills home on Nov. 16 after attending the premiere party for the movie Burlesque when she was shot five times.

Despite coverage that has speculated Chasen was killed as part of an elaborate plot, police now believe Smith, 43, an ex-convict, simply rode a bicycle alongside Chasen's Mercedes-Benz and opened fire as she waited to make a left turn off of Sunset Boulevard.

"We believe that Mr. Smith acted alone," Beverly Hills Police Chief David Snowden said. "We don't believe it was a professional hit."

Acting on information from a tipster to the TV show America's Most Wanted, police sought to question Smith at his home in Hollywood's Harvey Apartments on Dec. 1, they said. Before they could talk to him, though, he shot himself to death, splattering the apartment lobby with blood.

Smith boasted about committing the murder, claimed he had $10,000 coming to him for the crime and said he would not be willing to return to jail, neighbors told ABC News.

Beverly Hills Police repeatedly emphasized that the ballistics results matching the guns was preliminary and that the investigation continues.

"Through the interviews and the information we received," Publicker said, "that leads us to believe that he was at a desperate point in his life, and was reaching out and doing desperate measures."

Earlier reports that ballistics had failed to link the guns in the two crimes also were incorrect.

"That was wrong," Snowden said Wednesday. "It was erroneous information."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec022010

"Person of Interest" in Publicist's Murder Kills Himself

Photo Courtesy - John Heller/NFL(LOS ANGELES) -- The mysterious murder of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen took another strange twist Wednesday, with the suicide of a man Los Angeles Police Department detectives call a "person of interest" in the shooting.

When Beverly Hills police investigators came to serve a search warrant at a Hollywood hotel where the suspect apparently was, he shot himself to death, reports the Los Angeles Times.  Police aren't yet releasing the man's name.

The news comes after the L.A. County Coroner's office determined that only an "expert marksman" could have fired the shots that killed Chasen.  Chasen was shot five times in the chest through the window of her Mercedes as she drove in Beverly Hills in the early hours of Nov. 16, following a premiere party for the movie Burlesque.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec012010

Authorities Still Baffled By Hollywood Publicist's Murder

Photo Courtesy - John Heller/NFL(LOS ANGELES) -- Investigators still have no motive, witnesses or suspects in the slaying of powerhouse Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen, but details in an initial coroner's report reveal that the shooter appears to be an expert marksman.

Chasen, 64, who represented A-list movie stars and promoted some of Hollywood's top films, was driving home Nov. 16 after attending the premiere party for the movie Burlesque when she was gunned down.

Detectives suspect the gunfire came from a SUV or truck pulling alongside Chasen's Mercedes Benz E530. Chasen was stopped at a red light on Sunset Boulevard and Whittier Drive when the shooting occurred.

"After being struck by gunfire...she then made a left turn and drove for approximately a quarter mile before she crashed her car into a pole," the report said.

Detectives say it appears the shooter was an expert marksman.

Investigators told ABC News the security cameras that used to monitor traffic at the intersection where Chasen was shot were removed several years ago to save money.However, Beverly Hills police are seeking for any surveillance video that may provide more clues in solving Chasen's murder.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov182010

Report: Hollywood Publicist Ronni Chasen May Have Been Victim of Planned Attack

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images | John Heller | NFL(LOS ANGELES) -- Police investigating the shooting attack that killed Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen believe it "was planned in advance and not the result of road rage or a carjacking gone awry," according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The Hollywood Reporter's website also said there was "relevant footage" from at least one security camera near the site of the shooting. It said the video came from the home of Sherry Hackett, widow of the late comedian and actor Buddy Hackett, who lived down the block.

Chasen, 64, was murdered after the leaving the premiere party for the Cher movie Burlesque early Tuesday morning.

She was shot five times in the chest before she crashed her Mercedes Benz E530 into a light pole.

Publicly, Beverly Hills police say they have few leads. "No motive, no suspects, no persons of interest," Beverly Hills Police Sgt. Lincoln Hoshino told ABC News.

Chasen was shot on what Beverly Hills police told ABC News is "a safe street" in a residential area, just south of Sunset Boulevard. "It's a highly unusual case, especially for the city of Beverly Hills," Sgt. Lincoln said.

Police are also analyzing data from computers seized from the Beverly Hills public relations firm Chasen owned.

While police investigated Chasen's death, friends, family and stars mourned her.

Actor Morgan Freeman said in a statement, "I met Ronni when I was filming Driving Miss Daisy. We remained friends ever since. She is someone I greatly admired, and she will be remembered."

A funeral will be held for Chasen on Sunday.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov162010

Hollywood Publicist Ronni Sue Chasen Shot and Killed While Driving Mercedes-Benz

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images | John Heller | NFL(LOS ANGELES) -- Hollywood publicist Ronni Sue Chasen was killed early Tuesday morning in Beverly Hills. She was shot several times in the chest before crashing her late-model black E530 Mercedes-Benz into a light pole, according to the Beverly Hills Police Department.

Shortly before 12:30 a.m., police received reports from residents who heard gunshots in the exclusive area of Los Angeles.

Soon after, a 911 call reported a single-car crash just south of Sunset Boulevard. The driver was taken to Cedars-Sinai Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. The L.A. County Coroner's office later confirmed the victim as Chasen, 64.

On Monday night, Chasen attended the Hollywood premiere and afterparty for the new movie Burlesque, starring Cher and Christina Aguilera.

"She was at our premiere last night and so full of her trademark energy and love of life. We are heartbroken, shocked and completely devastated," said Amy Pascal, co-chair of Sony Pictures.

Chasen had recently promoted Burlesque; The Social Network; the upcoming film Country Strong, starring Gwyneth Paltrow; and Disney's Alice in Wonderland.

Chasen began working as a publicist in 1973. She was known for her work promoting Driving Miss Daisy, On Golden Pond, and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Chasen represented the late actress Natalie Wood, producers Richard Zanuck and Irwin Winkler, composer Hans Zimmer, and songwriter Diane Warren.

She owned the Beverly Hills Public Relations firm Chasen and Co. Police seized several computers from the company's offices after Chasen was pronounced dead. The reason for the seizure remains unclear. Beverly Hills Police said they had no reports of threats against Chasen or her company.

As of late Tuesday, there was no known motive or suspect in the case.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio