Ronni Chasen slaying does not appear to be a professional hit; suspect acted alone, police say
In Ronni Chasen's slaying, Beverly Hills police believe a Hollywood man "acted alone" and that she was not the victim of a professional hit.
Beverly Hills Police Chief David Snowden confirmed that the gun Harold Martin Smith used to kill himself at a Hollywood hotel last Thursday was the same one that killed Chasen, based on a preliminary ballistic examination.
Smith took his own life last week when Beverly Hills police went to his residence to talk to him about the Chasen slaying. Police had been tipped by a viewer of "America's Most Wanted," which had featured the case.
Officials have said they are not sure if Smith was involved in the killing and had asked the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department's Scientific Services Bureau/Firearms Section to do a ballistics comparison.
The source spoke on the condition that he not be named because the investigation is ongoing.
Chasen was shot to death last month while driving her Mercedes-Benz near the intersection of Whittier Drive and Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills. She was on her way home from a movie premiere after-party.
She was 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 Sunset. Another resident called 911 to report hearing a car crash into a light pole.
Residents who heard the crash found Chasen slumped over the steering wheel, bleeding.
-- Andrew Blankstein and Martha Groves in Beverly Hills