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Suspect in Ronni Chasen slaying had been under police surveillance before he killed himself [Updated]

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.a/6a00d8341c630a53ef0133f5e7b3f7970b-800wiA man described as a suspect in the slaying of veteran Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen fatally shot himself at a Hollywood apartment house Wednesday evening as Beverly Hills police were serving a search warrant there, sources told The Times.

The shooting occurred around 6 p.m. at the Harvey apartments on Santa Monica Boulevard, where detectives believed the suspect lived, according to four law enforcement sources.

The man's exact connection to the slaying was not immediately clear, but the sources said detectives believe he was involved the killing of Chasen, who was found shot multiple times in her Mercedes coupe on a Beverly Hills street.

The sources, who spoke on the condition that they not be named because it was ongoing investigation, said detectives received information suggesting the man would be in his apartment this evening. The man had been under surveillance for some period of time, they said.

When police approached the man at the lobby of the apartment complex, he backed up and refused their orders to raise his hands. He then pulled out a pistol and shot himself in the head, the sources said. He was declared dead at at the scene.

[Updated, 8:44 p.m.: The Beverly Hills Police Department issued a statement saying its officers were at the apartment when the shooting occurred but declined to provide further details. "At the time of the shooting, BHPD Detectives were on scene conducting a follow-up investigation. There were no other injuries related to the incident. Due to the fact that this is an ongoing investigation, there are no further details available at this time"]

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 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 Sunset. Another resident called 911 to report hearing the car crash into the light pole.

Residents who heard the crash found Chasen slumped over the steering wheel, bleeding. The passenger-side window of her car was shattered. One person who lives next to where Chasen's car came to a stop said she heard several shots, followed moments later by what she believed was the sound of a vehicle crashing. 


Witnesses describe bloody scene where Ronni Chasen suspect died

Ronnie Chasen slaying suspect takes own life

-- Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Hollywood publicist Ronnie Chasen. Credit: Los Angeles Times 

Comments () | Archives (38)

This is great news. Can they serve a search warrant on a dead man? Get in there and get the goods and find out who did this! Maybe they will solve this after all.

Good work, BHPD!!

They only care about rich white victims in this country. Oi Vey.

Police care about rich, white people because rich, white people pay their salaries.

Maybe someone should do a movie about it and make lots of money. Isn't that the business she was in? They make millions off tragedies every day.
Maybe she pulled some slimy Hollywood deal at some point through the years and it cost someone a lot of money or their job, reputation etc.
Someone wanted her dead. This was no amateur killing.

I hope someone in addition to the police saw this guy shoot himself. Or maybe the police shot him...makes for a nice conspiracy huh? You just never know.

Wow. He would've been so much more useful alive and talking. Tsk tsk.

Maybe he was the hit man and they are still looking for the
person who hired him, which is why they don't tell the public everything.
They are still solving the case.
Be patient folks they will solve this.

A CNN article said the deceased was a "person of interest."

"This person was a person of interest from the Chasen incident," Beverly Hills Police Lt. Tony Lee said. He would not call him a suspect

So when did he become a suspect?

Ah, speculate & speculate, that's all the mind does when these kinds of things happen. Will it lead to solving this "mystery?" Maybe but then maybe not if no more key evidence is collected and especially if this suicidal guy was the one holding the key.


Really?? An ex-con living at the Harvey apts?? Does it matter what color he was? Do you think based on where he lived and who she was that it matters that he looks a certain way in determining if he could be connected to her? Wow. You're a sharp one.

Two things that don't make sense in this incident:

1) This "Harold Smith" was allegedly bragging to fellow apartment/hotel residents that he did the shooting (I saw Terri Gilpin, 46, on TV saying he said he bragged about this particular murder.) So he pulls of this professional-looking hit, then he goes and brags about it to everyone (which is very unprofessional, to say the least.) That doesn't wash.

2) If this guy really is a murder suspect, how is he even able to reach for a weapon with detectives right there - they didn't have their guns drawn?

i think the guilty party is slowly being revealed. and its not the guy who killed himself. I think there is a very specific reason the killing played out just like in a movie.

A suicide by convenience enables the investigators to put an end to this case... Where are the matching balistics? Was it an automatic or a revolver...A nine millimeter is a bulky weapon and why didn;t the questioning police search this murder suspect? If he wanted money, he could have sold the gun.. a ready market is available... This story makes no sense... The mentality of this man would be better served to take a chance at a convinience store then pedal away on his bicycle from a murder... very sad conclusion to a precise assassination.... can't buy it or the convenient method of disposal of the biker...

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