The first major development in the Ronni Chasen killing surfaced Wednesday when a man shot and killed himself in a Hollywood apartment building as Beverly Hills police tried to serve him with a search warrant in connection with the Nov. 16 slaying.
Police said the man was a “person of interest” in the Chasen killing, and there were reports that he had been under police surveillance.
Capt. Kevin McClure with the Los Angeles Police Dept. said at a media briefing late Wednesday that Beverly Hills Police went to the Harvey Apartments on Santa Monica Boulevard, near the intersection of Wilton Avenue, as part of a “follow up” in the Chasen investigation. When police attempted to speak to the man in the lobby of the building at about 5:30 p.m., he pulled out a handgun and killed himself with a single shot. He was pronounced dead at the scene, McClure said.
Police did not release the man’s name. Beverly Hills Police Lt. Tony Lee refused to offer any more details on the investigation or the reason for the search warrant.
“It’s not over yet,” Lee said of the Chasen investigation before cutting off questions at the media briefing outside the apartment complex at 10 p.m.
Raechel Lude, a tenant of the Harvey Apartments, told Daily Variety that she saw the shooting scene in the entry way of the building, where the man’s body lay next to a bicycle and scattered newspapers. McClure emphasized that the LAPD would only investigate the shooting of the unnamed man and that the Chasen investigation remained the purview of the Beverly Hills police.
Another tenant, Eddie Burke, said he saw plainclothes officers speaking with the manager of the apartment building around 1:30 p.m. According to Burke, when he asked the men if they were “the heat,” they acknowledged that they were law enforcement officers.
Burke said the building caters to low-cost, short-term renters and that most of the studio units go for about $625-$725 a month. Burke and his son moved into the building about two weeks ago from Alaska.
The low-rent environs of the Harvey Apartments are a far cry from the glitzy and glamorous world of Hollywood that Chasen inhabited. The 64-year-old industry vet was found with multiple gunshot wounds in her chest in the early hours of Nov. 16 after her car crashed near the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Whittier Drive in Beverly Hills. She had been driving home from the premiere and after-party of Sony’s “Burlesque.”
Beverly Hills Police have yet to publicly identify any suspects or a motive for the killing.
Chasen’s death stunned showbizzers. More than 500 people attended her Nov. 21 memorial service. Chasen was known for her specialty of repping film composers and for her skill at orchestrating award season campaigns.