BEVERLY HILLS—Authorities are still searching for the suspect(s) in connection to the murder of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen that occurred on Tuesday, November 16. It appeared officials had a break in the case on Wednesday, December 1, when police tracked down Harold Martin Smith, 43, a person of interest; however, that lead turned cold when Smith shot himself inside the Harvey apartment building located on the 5600 block of Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood.
The incident occurred at around 6 p.m. when LAPD officials received a call of “shots fired.” The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. Smith had a long criminal record including time in prison. The Los Angeles Police Department Robbery Homicide Division (RHD) is currently in possession of a videotape from the event that took place inside the lobby.
Canyon News spoke to Lt. Tony Lee, Public Information Officer for the Beverly Hills Police Department about the case. “ America’s Most Wanted tipped us off, he’s not a suspect, he’s a person of interest and a possible witness in the case,” said Lt. Lee. The BHPD was serving a search warrant at the hotel when Smith committed suicide. When asked by Canyon News if Smith indicated anything to authorities before he shot himself Lt. Lee responded, “We’re not releasing any information at the moment.”
“Our officials were very surprised by the actions of Mr. Smith. It’s always difficult to see someone kill themselves,” said Lt. Lee.
According to media reports, Smith had been bragging about payment that he was to receive for a “job” that he completed, but there has been no confirmation on whether Chasen was involved. Media outlets have indicated that the ballistics on the weapon used to murder Ronni Chasen doesn’t match the gun used by Smith to kill himself, but the Beverly Hills Police Department has not released any evidence from ballistics reports.
Lt. Lee indicated that the BHPD is not aware of any recent reports that other people have been threatened at the same location as Chasen’s murder nearWhitter Drive and Sunset. “It may be outside of our jurisdiction, but we are not privy of any incidents,” said Lt. Lee.
The BHPD is asking anyone who has any information about the incident to contact the detective hot-line at 310-288-2656.