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Ronni Chasen slaying: Gun recovered from man who committed suicide appears to match one that killed publicist

December 8, 2010 |  1:09 pm


The gun recovered from a man who commited suicide at a Hollywood apartment appears to be the same one that killed veteran Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen, according to a law enforcement source.

The Beverly Hills Police Department has called 3 p.m. news conference to discuss the case, though no details were provided.

Harold Smith took his own life last week when Beverly Hills police came to his hotel to talk to him about the Chasen slaying. Police had been tipped by the television show "America's Most Wanted."

Officials have said they are not sure if Smith was involved in the killing and had asked Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Scientific Services Bureau/Firearms Section to do a ballistics comparison.

The source spoke on the condition that he not be named because it was an ongoing investigation.

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.


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Photo: A body is removed from the Hollywood hotel where a suspect in the slaying of publicist Ronni Chasen shot himself to death last week as police ordered him to surrender. Credit: Jay Clendenin / Los Angeles Times