UPDATED: 4:39 p.m. A report on deadline.com claims the dead man has been identified as Harold Smith. Also, it says the hit on PR maven, Ronni Chasen, was the result of a business deal gone bad.
A bizarre and deadly twist in the killing of well-known Hollywood publicist, Ronni Chasen. Late yesterday at the Harvey Apartments, 5640 Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles, a man the Beverly Hills Police are calling “a person of interest” reportedly committed suicide in the lobby of the complex.
Beverly Hills Police, who are handling the investigation into the shooting death of Chasen on November 16, continued to be tightlipped about their investigation. Los Angeles Police say Beverly Hills detectives attempted to serve the man with a search warrant in the lobby — that is when the man pulled out a handgun and shot himself in the head. It happened around 6 p.m. yesterday.
The Los Angeles Times called the man a “suspect’ and said he was “believed to be in his 40s” and residents at the complex “knew him only as Harold.” The Wrap added to the description by saying the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office had confirmed the man was “African American.”
On KNX 1070 newsradio this morning, some Harvey Apartment tenants said the man bragged about being involved in the Chasen killing and that he was about to get paid $10,000. Also, the man admitted to being an ex-convict and vowed never to go back to the “pen.”
A little over two weeks ago, Chasen was gunned down in her Mercedes on Whittier Drive, south of Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills, shortly after attending an after party for the movie premiere of “Burlesque” in Hollywood.
The 64-year-old press agent was shot several times. Recently, a report came out describing one of the bullets as a hollow point — which is designed to expand once inside the body– causing more damage than a regular bullet. The shooter reportedly had “a steady hand,” according to Hollywood journalist, Allison Hope Weiner, on deadline.com.
The killer’s ability to shoot through a passenger window and hit the victim in the chest area repeatedly, indicates a high skill with firearms. That’s one of the reason there is so much speculation that the killing was a professional hit. Yet, who would want to pay to have a popular publicist kill? One of the answers, the Beverly Hills police are probably hoping the dead man will not take with him to the grave.