Murdered Hollywood publicist was gunned down by 'expert marksman', coroner reveals
1st December 2010
Coroner: Injuries consistent with a 'professional hit'
Ronni Chasen shot five times in the chest
She managed to drive for quarter of a mile after she was shot
Police still baffled by lack of motive for the killing
Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen was shot dead by an expert marksman, it was revealed today.
An initial coroner's report showed the movie industry stalwart's injuries were consistent with a professional 'hit'.
Miss Chasen, 64, was shot five times in the chest in the early hours of November 16th in Beverly Hills, shortly after leaving the premiere of Burlesque.
The coroner said the nature of the famed publicist's injuries were consistent with being targeted by a professional gunman.
The report said:'There were three apparent gunshot wounds to the right side breast/chest area. There were two apparent gunshot wounds to the right shoulder.
'There was an apparent gunshot wound to the right upper back and the left upper back.
'One bullet was recovered from her back while at the hospital and is possibly a 9mm hollow point.'
Detectives confirmed they are looking for a skilled marksman as part of their murder probe.
They believe the gunman fired from a SUV or truck that pulled up alongside Miss Chasen's BMW as she stopped on Sunset Boulevard.
The report added: 'After being struck by gunfire, she then made a left turn and drove for approximately a quarter mile before she crashed her car into a pole.'
Former LA detective Gill Carillo told ABC News: 'Normally they turn the gun sideways and this is something that was done with some skill.
'I carried a gun for 38 years and had to fire it quarterly. I don't think I could shoot and hit that mass like that.'
Police could find no shell casings and only the car's right-side passenger seats and windows were damaged.
Miss Chasen's death has prompted a swirl of theories as to who might have wanted to kill the popular publicist.
Footage of her driving a car that was not hers 19 days before she was gunned down has only added to the intrigue as conspiracy theories abound about her death.
The film, snapped by a private investigator who was asked to record all the comings and going of the building where Miss Chasen was living, for an unrelated purpose, shows her driving an unidentified vehicle.
While police found Miss Chasen's black E350 Mercedes Benz crashed into a lamp post at the scene of her death, the car she is seen driving just weeks before the killing was not hers.
Police are now studying the video to see if it will shed any light on the mysterious killing.
They have already dismissed the possibilities that Miss Chasen, on her way back from a screening of Burlesque, was gunned down in a road rage incident or that it was a car-jacking gone wrong.
The police theory focuses on shots being fired from another car that pulled up next to the passenger side of Miss Chasen's car at around 12:30am on November 16.
It is believed these shots are what shattered Chasen's passenger side window, but police have ruled out a random sniper shooting.
Other theories from inside Beverly Hills include the following:
Miss Chasen had a close friend or family member who had accumulated gambling debts of over £300,000 and the creditors were chasing her for money
A Russian mob, who had invested in one of the films she had helped produced and were disappointed about their return, killed her
Miss Chasen was shot because of an art deal gone wrong
Someone was jealous of her successful Oscar campaigns
Police spokesman Lieutenant Tony Lee told the New York Post: 'People are coming out with all types of theories. But we will not rule out anything until the perpetrator is found.'
Miss Chasen's funeral was held last month and mourners included industry colleagues and Hollywood stars, including actors Michael Douglas and Elliott Gould.