Police Close Ronni Chasen Case — Publicist Killed With Cop’s Stolen Gun (Exclusive)

Chasen was shot four, rather than five times, as TheWrap reported in March; the murder was not a professional hit

Updated 3:20 p.m. July 15

Beverly Hills Police have officially closed the investigation into publicist Ronni Chasen's murder, and determined that "the sole perpetrator of this most heinous crime was Harold Martin Smith," the department announced Friday.

Smith is the ex-con who killed himself on Dec. 10, 2010.

According to a Beverly Hills Police Department statement, detectives reviewed more than 150,000 emails and texts, reviewed thousands of financial documents, intervieed family members, professional contacts, friends and others and worked more than 10,000 hours.

"All facts and evidence conclusively indicate that Mr. Smith acted alone," according to the department.



Publicist Ronni Chasen was murdered with a gun stolen from a police officer, TheWrap has learned.

Beverly Hills police have completed their investigation into and closed the case of the murder of the Hollywood publicist, killed on Sunset Boulevard Nov. 16 while driving home from a premiere party for the movie "Burlesque."

A law enforcement official told TheWrap that police determined:

>> The murder weapon was a revolver stolen from a police officer during a burglary in the San Fernando Valley. It is unclear what department that officer works for and when the weapon was stolen.

>> Chasen was shot four, rather than five times. That confirms TheWrap's March 30 scoop that Chasen was shot four times. 

>> Chasen was not the victim of a professional hit.

>> Ex-con Harold Smith, the suspect who shot himself to death on Dec. 1, had seven bullets and three gloves in his pocket when he died. Police are convinced Smith killed Chasen.

>> The crime scene is consistent with an altercation such as an attempted robbery or road rage. Chasen's car window was open a few inches.

The individual said that the final police report on the case was completed on Monday and that members of Chasen's family were at the Beverly Hills Police Department that day.

That person said that police determined that one of the bullets exited Chasen's body and then hit her again, possibly when she turned her body.

Police are releasing the Mercedes that Chasen was driving the night of her murder to her family.

Also Read: Exclusive: Ronni Chasen Preliminary Coroner Report Was Wrong

The public affairs officer of the Beverly Hills Police Department was unavailable Thursday. The watch commander on duty was unaware of the details of the case and declined to comment on it. 

Reached by TheWrap, Chasen's brother, screenwriter Larry Cohen, declined comment except to say, "whatever the police release, they release."

The police were expected to officially pronounce the case closed on Friday.

Despite rumors that swirled around Hollywood in the weeks after the murder, police believe the killing was not a professional hit for several reasons: Chasen was hit in the shoulder and chest, rather than in a tight pattern.

A professional would have used a more powerful weapon, the investigation concluded. A professional hit would have been in a more remote location. Chasen, who was 64, had received no death threats, was involved in no legal battles and seemed to live a normal life.

Among the indications of the "normal life": she had recently made a deposit on a rental chateau in France.

The report reiterates what Beverly Hills Police Chief Dave Snowden said during a press conference in December — that the gun Smith used to commit suicide is the same weapon used to murder Chasen.

At the time, Snowden said, "We believe that Mr. Smith acted alone, we don't believe it was a professional hit."