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Police seek video surveillance footage in probe of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen's slaying

November 17, 2010 |  7:14 am

Click for an interactive map of the shooting location and other nearby homicides Beverly Hills police are seeking video surveillance footage from businesses and residents along Sunset Boulevard as they continue to probe the slaying of veteran Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen, who they say was gunned down in her Mercedes early Tuesday morning.

Detectives said they have few leads in the case and are unclear about the motive for the attack.

Beverly Hills police Sgt. Lincoln Hishino would not discuss specific evidence in the case, but he did acknowledge that a review of security videos would be part of a "thorough investigation."

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 sometime around midnight, traveling west on Sunset Boulevard. Friends believe that she had planned to swing south to her condominium on Wilshire Boulevard near the grounds of the Los Angeles Country Club.

The 6-mile drive would have taken Chasen along the 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 a crucial clue.

In examining video, investigators face potential challenges. Technology in some cameras works better in the day than at night. Even cameras that can pick up images at night can be blinded by bright light. Some cameras may have blind spots, and videos often are of poor quality.

Chasen, 64, was found shot multiple times near the intersection of Whittier Drive and Sunset Boulevard near the border of Beverly Hills and the city of Los Angeles about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday and was pronounced dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center about an hour later, officials said.

Investigators spent much of the day removing potential evidence from Chasen's Westside condominium, including computer hard drives, compact discs and file boxes. Investigators also scoured her Westwood PR company for similar evidence. 

-- Andrew Blankstein

Photo: A tow truck carries the Mercedes Benz in which Ronni Chasen's body was found. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times