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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)

Typical gang banger shooting. She probably distrespected some 17 year old gang member by honking her horn.

Same killer as Tupac's? Maybe Somali Pirates? What about global warming?

And exactly what is so tragic about a publicist's death? I'm sure there are 100 personable con-men drifting into town every day that could easily replace her or any other publicist.

Bad week for Sunset Blvd. Would have any of you guessed that the 21 yr old woman killed in front of The Roxy, around the same time of night, last week, was a hit and run by someone driving a Bentley?

At that hour, people are out who have been to...parties (like Ronni) and clubs, and could be drunk or on drugs. She had made a call and left a message to her office, just minutes before. Maybe she was driving slow, maybe that and her new car - appearance (lone woman), triggered the shooter.

If they were driving, shell casings would be in their car. Did they not recover any bullets from the body or car? I think they did. I don't think it was a revolver. Must have been a semi-automatic. I've been at the intersection over a thousand times past midnight, coming home from from private screenings, myself. There is ALWAYS between 2 - 6 cars there after midnight.

The idea of a hit is almost funny. Here you have a very well liked workaholic - PUBLICIST. If you were someone looking for a boatload of attention, well, good target - but totally insane ! The location of the shooting, if you know the intersection, was extremely poor choice if you were a professional. Cameras around, traffic expected. A hit would have been best down Whittier along the golf course area...less chance of traffic, secluded, etc.

But let's call it it a hit so the real shooter will get his knickers in a knot and brag!

No one wants to think there is another crazy killer behind the wheel on Sunset and one that is still loose....

Road rage, semi-automatic, SUV or truck....

Paid hit probably from a celebrity who paid her to lie to them (which is basically was a publicist is commonly used for) and she refused. I would look into who she represents. I wouldn't doubt if names like Mel Gibson ,John Travolta or Charlie Sheen pop up on her rolodex.

Except in Mexico where the nation has gone insane due to the drug cartel beasts, there is always a reason. One must only find it.

This seems to be a very interesting case. Revolvers don't leave casings but are limited to 5 or 6 shots. The fact that they reported finding no casings suggests that they think the shooting was done with a semi-auto. If that is the case, this may be a professional job. There are devices that catch discharged cartridges. Given her status and the way this shooting took place, this may be another celebrity "who done it" E-Hollywood story.

Let's just hope the LAPD can track them down. There must be numerous surveillance cameras all over that area. Everything from bank ATM's to gas stations have cameras. Good luck and good hunting to the LAPD! Its times like this when everyone needs to think about how important it is to have a quality police department.

Greetings Everyone...Our prayers and thoughts are with the family of Ms.Chasen. I have some VERY IMPORTANT information for the INVESTIGATORS and I NEED SOMEONE TO CONTACT me A.S.A.P PLEASE AND THANKS!
R. Carter

Sorry to hear of anyone being murdered, but sounds as though Beverly Hills is waking up to the real world.

And she never got a shot off in return?
What's WRONG with that place?

Send in Eddie Murphy. He will solve the case in 90 minutes.

Our prayers and thoughts for the family and friends of Ms. Chasen...God bless!!!
My name is Sister Re'Mona See Carter and I have dreams, visions, and premonitions and I had a dream November 6, 2010 and I sent it to my Yahoo email and it contains SERIOUS INFORMATION in Re of this KILLING!!!

No shell casings at the crime scene and five shots fired with the perp nowhere to be found. Sounds like a professional hit was put out on her. She must of made someone very angry.

Attempted carjacking? So sad and tragic.

This is not a random affair: 1) five shots, well placed; 2) then no casings = revolver, not pistol; 3) discrete place, perfect time = deliberation.

Reasons? well, plenty of them in Hollywood, sometimes live imitates films - remember Tim Robbins in the "Player"? Or Begelman ruining Cliff robertson's career? Or David Geffen ruining Joni Mitchell's career? Or Michael Ovitz threatening Esterhazy "My foot soldiers on Wilshire will...?" Or, just a few blocks away of this murder, Pellicano placing on Judith Miller's windshild a dead fish with a rose in the mouth? Or James Caan hanging on only with mobsters? Or, just a few blocks east on Sunset, Greenberg abducting Rubin, then having her stooges kill him in the desert (the Cotton Club financing murder)?

Coincidence or accident this murder is not - probably she was part of something really ugly, or she knew something, or whatever -

Sunset at Whittier is no ghost town even at 12:30. This was a very brazen attack. I think it was some gang bangers killing for sport. Nobody else would be so bold as to shoot someone on a busy street. They probably shot 5 times because she got a good look at them. If it was a hit man then he would have at least waited and followed her down a quieter street.

@Jim - are you a complete moron or what? A professional hit man/woman generally commit their hits during rush hour, crowded streets/malls or public place -- the purpose, it causes folks to pathetic hence, no one can id the shooter. You said, a quieter street duh! why bring attention

Sounds like the hit man was never even paid, the neighbor said the guy was repeatedly coming back to the apartment complex after being evicted asking if anybody had been looking for him -- that he was expecting ten grand. - good lord.

Dead men don't talk and it would be convenient to use Harold Smith as a scapegoat to end an investigation into Ronni Chasen's murder,
when the so called "matching" bullets PRELIMINARILY are NOT conclusive beyond a reasonable doubt that Harold Smith is Ronni's murderer.

In a perfect world it would be nice to have stronger evidence against Harold Smith than what Beverly Hills police have revealed so far, and just because someone has alleged that Harold said he murdered Ronni, and cried after Harold shot himself, does not necessarily mean that that witness is telling the truth, or heard correctly, and also does not mean that Harold was telling the truth.

How do we know for sure that Harold said this, it is currently hearsay, and if he did say it, what about the rest of the story that Harold was waiting to be paid for murdering Ronni Chasen?

In addition I am not convinced Harold's suicide is admission of guilt to murdering Chasen, although it could be if proven that Harold was in Beverly Hills at the time of the shooting.

If Harold Smith's story about being the hit man of Ronni really is his story, and not just a story made up or embellished by unknown alleged witnesses some of whom stand to receive $125,000!!

Then if Harold said he killed Ronni and was going to receive 10K after as payment - then why aren't Beverly Hills & LAPD police pursuing this, even though the idea of Harold waiting to be paid after a murder has taken place, does sound ODD when Harold had not received any payment before the murder, which forced him to carry out the "planned" hit, the murder using a bicycle.

Why is only half of the witness story being used - and not the entire story which is that 1) Harold killed Ronni for money 2) Harold was waiting to be paid 10K.

Seems like the Beverly Hills police have redrafted the witness's story by omitting the hit man and conspiracy aspect but have adopted part of the script whereby Harold acted alone & with a gun on his bicycle.

I believe the question is still wide open - with the subparts did Harold act alone, did Harold act as a hitman in a conspiracy to murder,

OR did Harold act at all on his bicycle in the Ronni Chasen's murder case?

Have the police convinced anybody yet?

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