Times coverage: Authorities believe Ronni Chasen gunman acted alone
Authorities said this week that they believe a man who committed suicide in front of police in an apartment building in Hollywood was the gunman who killed Ronni Chasen. Chasen, a well-known celebrity publicist, was gunned down Nov. 16 in Beverly Hills while driving home from the premiere of the movie "Burlesque."
Harold Martin Smith killed himself Dec. 1 at the Harvey Apartments on Santa Monica Boulevard after Beverly Hills police arrived to serve a search warrant for his apartment.
They believed he had information about Chasen's slaying.
When police officers approached Smith in the lobby of the apartment building, he backed up and refused their orders to raise his hands. He pulled out a pistol and shot himself in the head and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Based on a preliminary ballistic examination, investigators now say the gun Smith used to take his life matches the gun that was used to kill Chasen.
At a news conference, Beverly Hills police said Chasen, a 64-year-old white woman, was killed in a botched robbery by Smith, who had a long criminal record. It appears he acted alone, they said, and may have shot the publicist while riding a bike.
Reporters Andrew Blankstein and Martha Groves have more on the story: Ronni Chasen shot in botched robbery; gunman acted alone, police say
Left photo: Hollywood publicist Ronnie Chasen. Credit: Los Angeles Times. Right photo: Suspect Harold Martin Smith. Credit: Booking photo.