Publicist Ronni Chasen was slain by an ex-con who acted alone and shot her from a bicycle, police said, calling the killing "a robbery gone bad" — not a professional hit.
Police were able to link Chase's shooting to ex-convict Harold Smith after a ballistics report found that Smith's gun matched the firearm used on Chasen, Beverly Hills, Calif., police Chief David Snowden said at a news conference Wednesday.
Smith was a person of interest in the case. When police tried to serve a search warrant at his Hollywood hotel on Dec. 1, he shot himself to death in front of police.
Beverly Hills Detective Sgt. Mike Publicker said that, because of Smith's background, Chasen's murder was "most likely a robbery gone bad." Police said it does not appear there was any connection between Smith and Chasen and that the incident was a "random act of violence."
Chasen was shot several times in the chest while driving home from a film premiere for Burlesque on Nov. 16. After she was shot, Chasen's car crashed into a light pole on a local street in Beverly Hills. She was later pronounced dead at a hospital. She was 64.
At the news conference, police also noted that America's Most Wanted helped in the case, saying the Fox network show played a "crucial" role.
"I'm very proud that this loyal AMW viewer had the guts to call our hot line to help solve this case," America's Most Wanted host John Walsh said in a statement. "After 23 years on the air, it reconfirms my belief that an average person can make a difference. It's my hope that the Chasen family will now have some answers."