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Ronni Chasen slaying: New details, still no motive in shooting of Hollywood publicist

New details emerged in the slaying of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen, but police detectives still have no motive or suspects in the Tuesday morning shooting attack.

Detectives now believe Chasen was killed in a car-to-car shooting, with the assailant firing into the passenger-side window of her Mercedes coupe.  Beverly Hills Mayor Jimmy Delshad told The Times that detectives believe a vehicle taller than Chasen's car, perhaps a sport utility vehicle, was involved.

"Indications are [the shots] could have come from another car, higher up, maybe an SUV," said Delshad, adding that it does not appear at this point that the assailant fired while standing in the street.

Delshad and other Beverly Hills officials expressed shock over the shooting, saying the city has not seen anything like it in years.

Councilman John Mirisch said residents are horrified by the ruthlessness of the crime. “We hope the police can bring whoever committed this awful crime to justice,” Mirisch said. “It’s clearly their top priority.”

Lt. Tony Lee of the Beverly Hills Police Department said Thursday that officials have not concluded whether Chasen was shot at the intersection or closer to where her car crashed into a light pole near Whittier and Greenway drives.

Delshad said police found some pieces of glass -- possibly from Chasen's car window -- near the intersection of Whittier and Sunset Boulevard, but they found no bullet casings. He added that Beverly Hills police were working on the case 24 hours a day.

Chasen was shot to death early Tuesday while driving her Mercedes-Benz near the intersection of Whittier and Sunset in Beverly Hills. She was on her way home from a movie premiere after-party.

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

Several residents dialed 911 at the time of the attack. The first call, from a person who lives near Sunset and Benedict Canyon Drive, reported a gunshot.

Moments later, more 911 calls came in reporting shots heard several blocks to the west, near Whittier and Wilshire. Another resident called 911 to report hearing the car crash into the light pole.


Former LAPD Chief Bratton offers scenarios in Ronni Chasen case

Detectives hope 911 calls reporting gunshots will help in Ronni Chasen slaying

-- Martha Groves, Andrew Blankstein and Sam Allen

Click to visit The Times' interactive Homicide Report

Comments () | Archives (68)

The NYT had something about her ties to Giancarlo Parretti. How is it that no one in LA knows a thing about it. Oh, it was her job to make sure the LA Times didn't report it.

If this were in South Central or Compton, it wouldn't be getting this sort of attention though I don't want want to minimize the tragic aspect of it. And it's probably gonna be some time before the gunman is caught.

This is the kind of crime that demands the death penalty yet just watch what happens if the criminals are caught. They will languish on death row for decades at taxpayer expense while their bleeding heart lawyers tie up their case in court with one appeal after another. Isn't it about time that the general population knew exactly who these lawyers are who are thwarting justice and what their motives are.

I still say professional hit

Road rage?

No one who groups five shots in a person's chest is firing as the result of some sort of road rage. A rage filled shooter would be luck to get two out of five shots into his target even at point blank rage.

No one would fire into a vehicle in that neighborhood and then hope to escape on foot or make it to a nearby vehicle. He would indeed fire from a vehicle and would probably use a revolver, not a semi-automatic. Anyone able to group five shots even at close range and into a stationery target is calm and experienced. He would be experience enough to have his engine running and to accelerate very slowly. Whether he has a tail light kill switch or not, I've no idea. Some people like them. Most people are simply willing to be a pair of taillights far off into the distance before any do-gooders get to the scene.

Motive? I've no idea. Usually businessmen prefer to make money rather than enemies and even enemy-businessmen tend to enjoy making money more than they enjoy firing off "stray" rounds. Look for a businessman with a financial motive and a history of taking prompt and immediately effective action. Hollywood is more full of them that you might think. So is the art world.

I only hope the murderer does not get away scott free. That would only compound the tragedy . It certainly does look like a hit job - in every possible way

I do hope the police ARE working on this 24/7 she did not deserve to die like that. My condolences to her family. Are there not any cams around where she was/been ? Something that can identify the car next to her if in fact it was a car to car shooting. Maybe it was an disgruntled client who 'followed' her from the event. I hope good detectives are on this to bring these animals to justice for her !!

One theory is that it was a gang initiation rite.

Is it just me, or is Dennis Quaid starting to sound less and less crazy by the day? He called this one three weeks ago, and now there are other reports of threats against stars and agents. Just seems like a strange coincidence.

Someone better call Detroit's top detective.

My theory is mistaken identity.

I feel bad for her and her family ...
It amazes me though all of this ...what ever happened to the valet that was shot and killed in Beverly Hills, no press conference no updates ....latino poor working man...I'm not surprised....rich publicist....Beverly Hills at its finest...

Assuming the scene was not touched when video was shot I'm wondering how her emergency flashers got on and her headlights are off. And how she was shot so many times in one area without her head or the car interior being hit.

From what I read, the red light camera at Whittier and Sunset wasn't working at the time. It is quite possible Chasen was waiting for the green arrow to turn onto Whittier at the time of the shooting. Granted it was past midnight, the pressure plates should have allowed her to turn almost immediately. Had that camera been working, it's also possible some images of the crime would have been captured. No shell casings indicated the weapon was likely a revolver. A professional would use a semi-automatic with silencer or a long range rifle. From the sound of things, it comes across as either a crime of passion or major road rage. Regardless, this is very sad and a frightening reflection of society today, especially within our younger population, as emotions tend to be numb.

@AJ Buttacavoli: Are you seriously advocating that we do away with the fail safes that we have in place to protect innocent parties from being unfairly sentenced to death? 139 people have been released from death row for crimes they didn't commit since 1973. And it's because of these "lawyers who are thwarting justice." I believe it is the death penalty itself that is thwarting justice. And we're allowing our government to use it to do so, and we're paying out our asses in taxes for it. If we instead offer life imprisonment without parole, we close the case, save money, and the convicted can waste away in a box of steel bars and walls.

Naw it was a robbery. Look at the corner on Google maps.. The street light is shaded by a tree, she was showing her handicap sign from the review mirror. The car has a bad blind spot on the right rear..So the killer came up from the right in her blind spot open the door sat down.. pointed a Revolver at her, she grabbed the gun and he pulled back..He fired, she let go the gun sprang back and broke the window, he got out and she drove as long as she could to get away..

No bullet shells ???
I'm sure not many hit men or wannabees use pistols for this kind of hits.

No bullet casings found, now they're claiming it must have come from a high-profile vehicle. Both my husband and I believe this was a hit. Someone clearly didn't want her around. Of course, the truth will probably get covered up as a "gang initiation" and we'll never really know if she did have any ties to people who would want her gone. Hope the truth does come out. Sad story.

And now maybe everyone will start listening to Randy Quaid's rants and take him more seriously. Who's next?

@jon....its randy quaid not dennis quaid...and @onboard skeptic..of course if it was south central or compton it wouldnt get as much publicity...those cities have shootings all the time...but this area is very rare to have a murder...so hence the extra coverage....lets not make this a race or economic thing...but trust me...if a hollywood publicist was shot in her mercedes 5 times in compton or south central it would still be big news!!

Is it just me, or is Dennis Quaid starting to sound less and less crazy by the day? He called this one three weeks ago, and now there are other reports of threats against stars and agents. Just seems like a strange coincidence.

Posted by: john | November 19, 2010 at 11:02 AM

John - It's you. Dennis Quaid is just fine. However, his brother Randy is a bit off kilter.

To Gefof: Parretti, eventually arrested for fraud etc., was behind a takeover of MGM studios in the early 90s. Ronni was offered the job of head of MGM worldwide PR in 1993. You write "The NYT had something about her ties to Giancarlo Parretti." I guess by that standard, anyone who worked for or with upper-level MGM execs at MGM in the early 90s had "ties" to Parretti. You are suggesting that Ronni did something shady because of these "ties" from a decade ago, then somehow prevented the LAT from reporting on it. If you have facts, do share them for the benefit of everyone who loved this wonderful woman. If you just enjoy spewing innuendo -- so easy to do by throwing out an Italian name and using the phrase "ties to" -- then please keep your armchair detective work to yourself, because real people are grieving this very real loss.

She was probably fired at and speeding away and the van or whatever continued to chase her until she crashed. If there were no shell casing then maybe it was from a revolver or they used a shell catcher or shot in an enclosed area. This may have been a contract kill. Look into her past, maybe she is tied into the mob.

Realist, I'd be surprised if it was a gang initiation rite. It seems to have been professionally done, and someone aspiring to be accepted into a gang would be very young and sloppy. Also, gang initiation targets usually tend to be rival gang members, or at least young people who may appear to be potential rivals.

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