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Beverly Hills Police Department: Ronni Chasen killed by lone gunman on a bike

by Danielle Berrin

December 8, 2010 | 5:23 pm

The Beverly Hills Police Department is selling a story that sounds radically implausible but may be true: That Ronni Chasen was killed in a random attempted robbery, by a lone gunman, who shot her from his bicycle, while waiting at a stoplight in Beverly Hills. 

That was only coherent picture that emerged from a press conference held at Beverly Hills Police Department headquarters earlier this afternoon.

BHPD Chief Dave Snowden told a rabid crowd of reporters, from The Daily Beast to CNN, that a ballistics report conducted in the investigation of Chasen’s murder confirmed that the gun Harold Martin Smith used to commit suicide on Dec. 1 at the Harvey Apartments was the same gun used to kill Ronni Chasen.

“The same gun that was used to kill Ms. Chasen killed Harold Smith,” Snowden said.

In a movie, this information would be a lead-in to the next chapter, in which we discover a complex web of people tied to the murder. But instead, BHPD wants their Hollywood ending. And soon.

“We believe he acted alone,” Snowden said, before turning the mic over to Sgt. Mike Publicker.

“This was a random act of violence,” Publicker reiterated. “With Mr. Smith’s background, we believe it was a robbery gone bad.” According to interviews conducted during the investigation, Publicker concluded that Harold Smith “was at a desperate point in his life.”

That desperation brought him to a stoplight in Beverly Hills, on the corner of Sunset Blvd. and Whittier Drive, where he just happened to be hanging out at midnight on a Monday, waiting to shoot, kill, and then not rob someone.

“We believe his mode of transportation was a bicycle,” Publicker said. “We believe he intended to rob her.” Even though, in the end, he didn’t.

It seems that for the BHPD, that’s motive enough.

But the crowd wasn’t buying, and an incredulous press pressed on:

“Is he a suspect in other robberies that have taken place on bicycles?” one reporter asked.

Publicker said the bicycle is currently in custody of the Los Angeles Police Department, but they expect it to be turned over to BHPD for analysis.

“So you mean to say that an ex-con with nothing in common with Ms. Chasen was just waiting at a stoplight in Beverly Hills to rob her?” another reporter interjected.

“We do not believe he was a paid hit man.” Publicker said.

When asked if they were satisfied with the results of the investigation, BHPD said that the Chasen murder mystery is “ongoing” but they feel confident that the investigation is between “60-percent and 70-percent done.”

Thanks to the television classic “America’s Most Wanted” which fielded the anonymous tip that led them to Harold Smith.

But what of tracing the sale of the gun? Or the results of the coroner’s report? And what about the rumor that Smith bragged to a neighbor about a $10,000 payday for “a job” he was doing?

“There are a lot of quasi-experts on radio and TV that don’t know what the heck they’re talking about,” Publicker said. He blamed the media for piecing together unrelated bits of information into a marketable story.

At the end of the conference, Beverly Hills Mayor Jimmy Delshad (who is Jewish) praised the BHPD for a “professional and skillful” job.

Uh-huh.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Danielle Berrin writes the Hollywood Jew blog, a cutting edge, values-based take on the entertainment industry for jewishjournal.com. A Los Angeles Times profile dubbed her...

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