Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen fatally shot in Beverly Hills attack [Updated]
Ronni Chasen, 64, a longtime Hollywood publicist, has been identified as the Mercedes Benz driver who was fatally shot in Beverly Hills early Tuesday morning, Los Angeles County coroner's spokesman Ed Winter said.
Police are still searching for the shooter.
Chasen has represented such entertainment luminaries as the late actress Natalie Wood, composer Hans Zimmer, and movie producers Richard Zanuck and Irwin Winkler.
Authorities said they arrived at Sunset Boulevard and Whittier Drive about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday and found the Mercedes-Benz E350 crashed into a light pole. Chasen had been shot multiple times in the chest. No one else was in the car.
No one could be reached for comment at her Beverly Hills public relations and marketing firm, Chasen & Co.
[Updated at 11:26 a.m.: Nahid Shekarchian, a 33-year Beverly Hills resident of the neighborhood who lives just south of the house where Chasen's car crashed, told The Times that sometime after midnight she heard gunshots -- "boom-boom-boom" -- and opened the curtain of her upstairs bedroom.
She told her daughter-in-law to call 911 and went outside to see what had happened. Shekarchian said the woman in the car was bleeding profusely from her nose and had blood on her chest. She added that the window on the passenger side of the front seat had been shattered.
Another neighbor walked to the car window and asked: "Can I help you?" Shekarchian said the driver "was breathing very heavily" and did not respond.
Two sources, who spoke to The Times on the condition that they not be named, said Chasen attended the premiere of the Cher movie "Burlesque" as well as a party after the screening. The premiere was at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre, and the party was at the W hotel in Hollywood. She lived in Westwood and may have been driving home when the attack occurred.
Hollywood publicist Howard Bragman, who worked with Chasen on a number of projects, described her as “a lady and a grown-up” in an industry of flash and impermanence.
“She had been doing this forever. She had a lot of class, a lot of style and a lot of intelligence. She was just very very well-respected,” Bragman said.]
Photo: Beverly Hills traffic control officer James Tyner puts up additional yellow tape at the corner of Walden and Whittier drives, a block from the fatal shooting. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times
-- Andrew Blankstein and Harriet Ryan in Los Angeles and Martha Groves in Beverly Hills