BEVERLY HILLS—As police closed in, the man believed to be the suspect in the Ronni Chasen murder case killed himself in the lobby of a residential hotel. The suicide was witnessed by several fellow tenants.
Witnesses claim the man appeared to shoot himself in the head, splattering blood all over the floor and generally creating a mess. People rent rooms by the month at this particular business.
The Coroner’s Office will not release the name of the deceased, due to the fact that the next-of-kin has not yet been notified.
The Associated Press (AP) conducted crime-scene interviews. Resident Terri Gilpin told the Associated Press: “I thought it was backfire, but I was kind of half-asleep, in a drowsy state of mind,” she said. “It was kind of like a pop.”
Apparently, the man in question had only recently returned from serving two state prison sentences, and was determined not to ever go back to prison. According to tenant Brandon Harrison, “He told me several times, ‘If it ever came back down to me going to prison, I would die first.’” Harrison was interviewed by the Los Angeles Times.
A retired investigator told AP that Chasen’s death appeared to be the work of a professional. The deceased man, cited as a “person of interest” by the Beverly Hills police, was out of prison on firearms and drug-related charges.
The suicide took place in LAPD jurisdiction, but LAPD officials are deferring to their Beverly Hills counterparts in the investigation. According to Richard French, Senior LAPD media relations consultant, in a statement to Canyon News:
“The suicide was witnessed by Beverly Hills officers, and then LAPD was called in because it occurred within our jurisdiction at an apartment-like complex in Hollywood. As is customary in a case like this, there will be a cursory death investigation, and the County Coroner will determine the official cause of death. That’s the extent of our involvement, and Beverly Hills PD will continue to be the investigating law enforcement agency on the Chasen case.”
The Beverly Hills Police Department released this statement to Canyon News:
“At approximately 6 p.m. on 12-01-10, the Los Angeles Police Department responded to a call of ‘Shots Fired’ in the 5600 block of Santa Monica Blvd. When they arrived, a male subject (NFD) had sustained a self-inflicted gunshot wound…Due to the fact that this is an ongoing investigation, there are no further details available at this time.”
The suicide only adds more mystery to the Ronni Chasen slaying, since authorities have still failed to identify any possible motive for the murder.