Updates throughout with comments from Beverly Hills police. First posted at 1:32 p.m.
A gun used by a Hollywood man to kill himself as police approached him last week matches the weapon used to kill Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen last month, at least according to preliminary analysis, Beverly Hills police reported Wednesday afternoon.
Beverly Hills police Chief Dave Snowden said “Harold Martin Smith acted alone.” Sgt. Michael Publicker said “We believe that this was a robbery gone bad.”
Smith, 43, killed himself one week ago Wednesday as Beverly Hills police approached. They were acting on a tip from Fox TV show America's Most Wanted. Neighbors said he had bragged about killing Chasen and had said he was owed $10,000.
“We don't know the case is solved, all we know is the gun matches the bullet,” Beverly Hills Mayor Jimmy Delshad said at the same afternoon news conference at which the police chief spoke. “I believe he acted alone.”
“It appears that he did act alone,” said Publicker. “We believe that his mode of transportation was by bicycle.”
He said that Smith had a bike at the scene of his suicide, the Harvey Apartments on Santa Monica Boulevard near Western Avenue.
Some wondered if Smith was sane and said he talked to himself a lot, leading to some speculation about whether he was a true suspect or just the source of a tip that led nowhere.
What's more, prior reports indicated the gun was tested and that it was not a match with the Chasen murder weapon.
Beverly Hills police this week said the gun was not tested, however, but that it would be.
Chase was gunned down as she drove on a Beverly Hills street early on Nov. 16. Some experts have said her murder appeared to be a professional hit.
“We do not believe he was a paid hit man,” Publicker said of Smith.
Her death rocked Hollywood, where she was know for her work drumming up good ink for Oscar Awards campaigns.
Publicker said whoever tipped off America's Most Wanted about Smith might be entitled to a $125,000 reward.
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