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Ex-LAPD chief Bratton lays out possible scenarios in Ronni Chasen killing

ChasenBeverly Hills police released no new information Thursday in the shooting death of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen, but some law enforcement officials have offered theories about how detectives are investigating the case.

Former Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton, who now works in the private security industry, laid out several investigative scenarios in an interview with CBS News.

"The scenarios are, Los Angeles, possible (random) gang drive-by, (but) Beverly Hills, very unlikely. Road rage, very potentially likely in a lot of those incidents in California and Los Angeles," he said. "A crime of passion, somebody who knew her -- they have not determined, to the best of my knowledge, as to whether there was possibly somebody else in the car. Fourth could be the idea of an unintended consequence, that she was killed and they were looking for somebody else."

Beverly Hills detectives investigating the slaying of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen believe she was shot moments before her car crashed off Sunset Boulevard early Tuesday.

Beverly Hills detectives are focusing on forensic evidence gathered from the spot where Chasen was found shot several times in her Mercedes coupe. Residents who heard the crash found Chasen slumped over the steering wheel, bleeding. The passenger-side window of her car was shattered.

Beverly Hills Police Sgt. Lincoln Hoshino said that although investigators are still not sure exactly where the shooting occurred, their working theory is that it happened before the crash. Police are also trying to determine whether the shattered window was caused by gunshots or by some other type of force.

One person who lives next to where Chasen’s car came to rest said she heard several shots, followed moments later by what she believed was the sound of a car crashing.

Calling the investigation “wide open,” detectives are also seeking video surveillance footage from businesses and residents along Sunset Boulevard, hoping it might shed clues on what happened. Chasen had attended an after-party for the premiere of the movie “Burlesque” at the W Hotel in Hollywood.

She is believed to have left the event for home about midnight, traveling west on Sunset Boulevard. Friends believe that she had planned to head south to her condominium on Wilshire Boulevard near the grounds of the Los Angeles Country Club.

The six-mile drive would have taken Chasen along Sunset Strip, an area stocked with potential surveillance video as well as mansions with sophisticated security systems that include surveillance cameras that could allow investigators to pick up crucial clues.


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Comments () | Archives (23)

Since this kind of crime rarely happens in Beverly Hills, I would think it is a mob hit of some kind, and a send-a-message one at that. If this woman is friendly and very much a part of the scene, she is also involved in "creating a buzz" around heavily invested properties. I would think this were more random if I had not learned that she had become involved with an Italian financier who was later indicted for fraudulent activities in Europe. I started to think of Greyfriars Bridge London, and Banco Imbrosiano. Some people take their money very seriously indeed, and maybe there was a falling out or the refusal to do something when they made an offer of some sort. Never forget that Hollywood is about using other peoples' money to ratchet your way to success. Hope for the sake of entertainment in general, that this is not a trend. But I do think Ronni made someone mad, and not by cutting them off in traffic, but maybe in their trafficking.

Did Bill Bratten really add anything to this story that somebody who's ever seen an episode of Law and Order, CSI, or even Hawaii 5-0 couldn't have figured out for themselves? Who even cares what he thinks if he's not part of the investigation and doesn't have any inside information?

Did he cover enough scenarios to justify this article? He left out one major possibility. Carjacking. She drove a late model, very desirable Mercedes. Perp walks up to the passenger window, tries to open the door, she freaks, he/she shoots, she splits. No shell casings would be found where she crashed unless they bounced into the car. Just saying. . . .

Chief of the Obvious, he should have been called...

Could be a case of extreme road rage too...

white rich woman gets shot and waves and waves come to find killers yet this happens anywhere to not famous nor rich they call it cold case and grab the next doughnut

Bratton forgot to mention two other likely scenarios:
1. She ticked somebody off at the premiere and that person laid in wait for her or followed her.
2. She ticked off somebody who was trying to jack her car, or her purse, jewelry, etc.

"Former Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton, who now works in the private security industry, laid out several investigative scenarios in an interview with CBS News."

Bratton-shmatton. He's wrong. This was a professional hit. There are three possible reasons for it: personal, such as a jealous lover we don't know about; occupational, such as a bitter employee or client or competitor; or accidental, such as a case of mistaken identity. The last possibility seems unlikely, because the killer was a pro.

Since no one has yet been arrested or even brought in for questioning, I doubt she was targetted by a lover. Those cases are quick to solve, at least as far as determining who hired the shooter.

That leaves a professional connection. My guess is that when the cops finishing scouring those computer records they took from Ms. Chasen's office, they will discover someone who worked for her or with her or competed against her and hated Ronni Chasen. That's the person who hired the hitman.

Lending credence to "incident while operating a vehicle" (road rage) are the facts that:
a.) The victim was using her cellphone while operating her vehicle, unlawful in the state of California.
b.) She was driving a new car and possibly not completely familiar with its features.
The first would mean she wasn't paying attention to her surroundings and probably missed either a traffic maneuver or an approaching danger.
For discussion and anlysis of motives, see:



I'd have to say what I thought from the beginning. Road rage. It is very plausible in this city.

Very sad what happened. I past Sunset/Whittier at around 1am that night. There were two unmarked police cars blocking off the street but all else was quiet.

Fascinating story, kind of reminds me of the Micky Thompson hit in the 80's. But why the heck is William Bratton getting free publicity out of it? Bratton could have made a difference but he choked for the big bucks just like every other greedy power monger out there.

I agreed with some here, this seems to be the work
of a pro.

NYPD would have solved it by now

I doubt it was road rage, because it happened around midnight, when there wasn't really any other traffic on the road. Usually rage happens when it's congested and people are more frustrated and impatient.

It would have been easy to determine her schedule of events and track her comings and goings. It most definitely seems like a professional hit, considering that the police don't seem to have found any shell casings. Perhaps kooky Randy Quaid and his wife are right about there being 'starwhackers' in Hollywood.

Does this mean that Bratton will be running for mayor of Los Angeles? Oh great!

He seems so much more intellectual when he doesn't talk...he should maintain that persona...

He should keep his comments and responses to 3 very general bullet points as he did when he worked for LAPD...

Beverly Hills PD is a joke.

I remember a while back their police chief saying that every homicide in the city is solved in 24 hours because their detectives are so much better than LA's.

Good luck flatfoot.

Given that Mr. Bratton was never a working police officer, why in the world is he offering any sort of theory of the case?

He's never investigated a homicide, he's never worked as a detective.

If you throw out enough scenarios you'll eventually find one that fits the facts, that doesn't mean you know what you're talking about.

I certainly hope you guys do not have another Night Stalker.I think he was the serial killer from the 80s.Or the Zodiac,he was never caught.But he would probaly be to old by now.Just a thought.I live in Louisiana so am not worried ,but am sorry for this poor lady.

Plenty of thugs and plenty of drugs at Hollywood-type events. Road rage under that scenario is entirely possible. Might she have ignored -- or been perceived has having ignored one these types at the event? Also possible. Doesn't take a lot in LA where everybody is a freaking celebity wannabe!

With 100's of thousands of violent gang members roaming our cities looking for a thrill kill the morons who flooded the State with these vermin won't even allow its residents to carry weapons to protect ourselves so we do it anyway making us criminals in a sense too. Also, actor Randy Qaid fled to Canada claiming there was a gang killing Hollywood people. A couple of days after this poor womans murder casting directors received death threats making people wonder if Qaid isn't a nut after all. THis needs to be solved FAST.

Where was O.J.?


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