Sunday, December 12, 2010
Ronni Chasen Crime Scene - Whittier & Sunset Blvd.
Ronni Sue Chasen (October 17, 1946 – November 16, 2010) was an American publicist, who once represented such actors as Michael Douglas, as well as musicians such as Hans Zimmer and Mark Isham, among others. Chasen directed the Academy Award campaigns for more than 100 films during her career, including Driving Miss Daisy in 1989 and The Hurt Locker in 2009.
Chasen was shot and killed November 16, 2010 while driving home from the premiere of the film Burlesque. The investigation into her murder is ongoing.
Chasen was shot early in the morning on November 16, 2010, at approximately 12:28 a.m. PST, in Beverly Hills as she was driving home from the Hollywood premiere of the film Burlesque.
Neighbors near the intersection of Whittier Drive and Sunset Boulevard in the city of Beverly Hills originally reported hearing gunshots in front of their homes but more calls came in to the 911 call center a few moments later stating that a late model, black Mercedes-Benz had run a curb, hit, and toppled a concrete street light. When police crews arrived, they found Chasen slumped in the driver's seat, the steering wheel airbag inflated, blood emanating from her nose and chest area, in and out of consciousness with the front passenger side window shattered. Chasen was pronounced dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Chasen was buried at Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California. She is survived by her brother, film director Larry Cohen.
Beverly Hills Police Department sources have stated that Chasen received approximately five gunshot wounds to the chest, which caused her to lose control of the vehicle just after turning from Sunset Boulevard onto Whittier Drive. Police believe that Chasen's killer was an expert marksman, and likely shot the woman from an SUV or truck that pulled alongside her car. A leaked coroner's report noted that hollow-point bullets may have been used by the gunman.
On December 1, 2010, the Los Angeles Times reported that a man believed to be involved with Chasen's murder committed suicide after being confronted by police at the Harvey Apartments on Santa Monica Boulevard in East Hollywood. The Times reported the man, a convicted felon known to neighbors at the complex as Harold Smith, was approached by police in the apartment lobby, at which point the man pulled out a pistol and shot himself in the head. On December 6, 2010, it was reported that Smith is no longer considered a person of interest in the murder. However, on December 8, 2010, it was reported by the Beverly Hills Police Department that Ronni Chasen's murder was a random act of violence, a robbery gone bad - committed by a man on a bicycle. According to BHPD, the gun that Harold Smith used to kill himself last week was the very same gun used to murder Chasen. Police say they believe Smith acted alone and it was in no way connected with road rage -- an operating theory last week. The big break in the case was a tip through "America's Most Wanted" -- after Smith began bragging to neighbors that he shot Chasen and got $10,000 for it. The "AMW" tipster -- who wants to remain anonymous -- stands to collect a $125,000 reward.