Harold Smith became a person of interest earlier this week in the murder of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen. After committing suicide in an residence hotel lobby when police issued a search warrant, many speculated that he was the killer. But police now think he was the wrong man.
Smith was a career criminal who had been in and out of prison for years. His latest arrest warrant was for marijuana possession and prowling. He had been moving through a neighborhood last year trying to get into houses. When one man confronted him, Smith told him he was going to kill him. He was arrested shortly after.
According to people who knew him, he had said that he would kill himself before going back to prison, where he had spent time for robbery.
Originally, police questioned him after a tip on America’s Most Wanted, from a man who said Smith had been bragging that he was involved in Chasen’s death.
Chasen was murdered while driving from the opening of Burlesque. According to police, she was shot from another car and died at the hospital shortly after.
The gun Smith used to kill himself does not match that used to kill the publicist, police are saying.