Three days after Ronni Chasen was gunned down in Beverly Hills, police have not yet asked the W Hotel in Hollywood for video footage of the publicist leaving — images that the visible cameras outside the building would almost assuredly have captured.
The Hollywood Reporter, citing an unnamed Beverly Hills city official, reported Thursday that investigators are working on a theory that the shooting was a planned killing. There was also reference to surveillance video taken from cameras at the estate of the late Buddy Hackett that may be relevant to the case.
But cops still haven't retrieved footage from the hotel where Chasen was last seen by friends. The way the W's outside cameras are configured, footage could help determine precisely what time Chasen left; whether anyone got into the car with her; and whether her black Mercedes-Benz E350 was followed.
“I don’t believe they’ve asked for (the footage),” Markie Price of BrandLink Communications, which represents the W, told TheWrap. “W Hollywood is cooperating with the active investigation.”
Even after the Hollywood Reporter's story and growing speculation that the shooting was a professional hit, Beverly Hills investigators told TheWrap that there are no suspects or leads as of yet, and there was nothing new to report.
"I just got out of a meeting 20 minutes ago with the sergeant supervising detectives on the case, and there were no new leads," Beverly Hills Police Department Sgt. Lincoln Hoshino told TheWrap on Thursday afternoon.
In an interview with CBS News' "The Early Show" Thursday, the former LAPD Chief William Bratton called the shooting “a classic Hollywood whodunit.”
Chasen was last seen Monday night at the premiere afterparty for the upcoming Cher film "Burlesque" at the popular Drai’s club on the rooftop of the Hollywood Boulevard hotel. The Chasen & Co. founder left sometime after midnight on Tuesday after spending an hour or so upstairs, where she chatted with friends and colleagues, including producer Donald DeLine and client, composer Diane Warren.
Exiting the ground-floor elevator from Drai’s, Chasen would have had only two ways to go, each of which is well-covered by visible security cameras.
“I don’t know if we have any footage from the hotel at this point,” Beverly Hills Police Sgt. Lincoln Hoshino told TheWrap, “and I am not at liberty to discuss it further.”
Beverly Hills police have handled only two other homicides this year, both of which the department solved. If the Chasen shooting continues to baffle local detectives, they could call in Los Angeles County authorities to help — but in doing so, would essentially cede all control of the investigation.
Chasen’s car was discovered crashed on Whittier, south of Sunset Boulevard, at around 12:30 a.m. She'd been shot multiple times in the chest, and the passenger's side window had been shattered, suggesting the shooter may have been outside Chasen's car and on the side of the grassy boulevard.
About 100 yards north of where her southbound car finally crashed into a light pole, a stop sign halts all traffic in an area with virtually no sightlines to surrounding homes. It's also the only place within a reasonable distance where Chasen would have brought the car to a stop on her own.
Chasen left a calm voicemail at her office just minutes before the shooting — she would have been on Sunset during that time, most likely — suggesting that she didn't have anyone in the car with her and wasn't driving under duress.
Police have said they were seeking video footage from various sources, but thus far have not asked for the two that almost certainly would've shown the publicist minutes before her death.
Tim Molloy and Josh Dickey contributed to this story.