Ronni Chasen Murder: Cops Try to Match Suspect's Suicide Gun to Publicist's Killing

VIDEO: Police search for a culprit in the Hollywood publicist murder case.
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The Los Angeles Police Department is running ballistics tests on the gun a suspect in Ronni Chasen's murder used to kill himself, they said. They want to determine if it matches the gun used in the Nov. 16 killing of Chasen, a powerhouse Hollywood publicist.

Police also are reviewing surveillance tapes from the Harvey Apartments on Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood, the home of the suspect -- named Harold Smith, ABC News has learned -- and the place where Smith shot himself dead Wednesday night as police sought to question him, authorities said.

Smith's neighbors told ABC News that the man they knew as "Harold" bragged about killing Chasen.

"He was like, 'You know that publicist? I killed her,'" said Terry Gilpin, 46, a fellow resident who said Smith told her he was owed $10,000 for the killing.

Watch 'Nightline' for more on the Chasen case tonight at 11:35 ET.

Gilpin, and her husband, Brandon Harrison, 27, described an altercation with Smith two or three weeks ago during which he made threatening statements and took credit for the Nov. 16 killing of Chasen.

Authorities did not say how Smith might have been connected to Chasen's death, other than that he was a "person of interest."

Chasen, 64, who represented A-list movie stars and promoted some of Hollywood's top films, was driving home after attending the premiere party for the movie "Burlesque" when she was gunned down.

Harrison told the Los Angeles Times that Smith described himself to a neighbor as "an ex-convict who served two stints in state prison, the most recent for firearms and drug convictions," and "vowed he would never go to prison."

Sure enough, he shot himself late Wednesday as police came looking for him.

"While conducting that follow up, the person they were looking for showed up," Los Angeles police Capt. Kevin McClure said. "They attempted to talk to the suspect. When they did, the suspect produced a handgun and there was a self-inflicted wound, at that point."

Smith was pronounced dead at the scene, where Eddie Burke and his son also were staying.

"We left the building for a few hours," Burke said. "And then as we returned, we were a little more than a block away and all hell broke loose on Santa Monica Boulevard."

Was It Money? Ronni Chasen Had Plenty, Her Will Shows

Investigators have struggled to identify a motive or suspects in Chasen's slaying. There were no witnesses.

A fellow veteran Hollywood publicist, Howard Bragman, noted that although Hollywood is a town of some famous feuds, "most people get over stuff."

He suspects Chasen was killed for money -- and Chasen certainly wasn't lacking cash. Her will, a copy of which was obtained by ABC News, showed she had a net worth of $6 million.

"When you talk about murder for hire, really three things [come up]," Bragman said. "Number 1, pride. I think 2 is romance. And I think 3 is money. And 99 percent of the time, it's about money. And I think there is a money trail, and I think the police are on the money trail and they will find out who did this."

The Los Angeles Times also reported that a tip from "America's Most Wanted" show might have helped Beverly Hills police narrow down the person of interest in the case.

The show's host, John Walsh, told the newspaper that authorities acted swiftly after the information was sent to police.

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