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Detectives unsure if man who killed himself was involved in Ronni Chasen killing

December 3, 2010 |  2:48 pm
A body believed to be that of a person of interest in the slaying of film industry publicist Ronni Chasen, is rolled out of the Harvey Apartments building on Santa Monica, Boulevard just after midnight Dec. 2.  The man had fatally shot himself as Beverly Hills police were serving a search warrant.

Beverly Hills police said Friday they are not sure whether the man who took his own life as detectives served a search warrant was involved the the slaying of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen.

"At this time, it is unknown if this individual was involved in the Chasen homicide," the Police Department said in a statement.

Officials said the department had received numerous tips since Chasen was killed last month. One of the tips came from "America's Most Wanted" and involved the man, the statement said.

The man, Harold Smith, killed himself Wednesday evening, pulling a pistol from his pocket and shooting himself in the lobby of the Harvey Apartments building on Santa Monica Boulevard as detectives attempted to serve the search warrant.

Several law enforcement sources said Beverly Hills detectives privately described Smith as a suspect in the case. However, the Police Department has publicly described him only as a "person of interest."

Chasen was shot to death early Nov. 16 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 party after the premiere of the movie "Burlesque." Chasen is believed to have left the event about midnight and been traveling west on Sunset. Friends believe she planned to head south to her condominium on Wilshire Boulevard.

Several residents dialed 911 at the time of the attack, saying they heard gunshots. Moments later, another resident called police to report hearing the car crash into a light pole.

People living on Whittier Drive who heard the crash ran to the scene and found Chasen slumped over the steering wheel, bleeding.


Suicide of suspect in Ronni Chasen slaying caught on tape

Ronni Chasen slaying suspect worried about police, talked of gun, $10,000 windfall

Suspect in Ronni Chasen slaying had been under police surveillance

--Andrew Blankstein

Photo: The suspect's body is removed from the Harvey Apartments.

Credit: Los Angeles Times