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Mystery Surrounds Shooting Death of Famed Hollywood Publicist

  • Ronni Chasen

    Ronni Sue Chasen (AP)

  • Ronni Chasen

    Nov. 16: The damaged Mercedes E350 in which well-known Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen, inset, was shot several times in the chest and killed in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP)

  • Beverly Hills shooting

    Nov. 16: An aerial view of the crash scene at Sunset Boulevard and Whittier Drive in Beverly Hills (MyFoxLA.com)

  • Ronni Chasen crime scene

    Nov. 16: A utility worker examines the site of the crash where Chasen was found inside her vehicle shot several times in the chest and killed, afterward crashing into this light pole (AP).

Police probing the mysterious shooting death of Ronni Chasen are looking to collect security video from homes along Sunset Boulevard where the famed Hollywood publicist was gunned down inside her Mercedes-Benz.

Chasen, a 64-year-old Beverly Hills publicist, was shot and killed early Tuesday after attending the premiere of the new Cher film "Burlesque," whose soundtrack she was pushing for an Oscar nomination.

Sgt. Lincoln Hoshino of the Beverly Hills Police Department told FoxNews.com that investigators are "not ruling anything out," including a road rage encounter or the possibility that Chasen was targeted.

There are no suspects in the case and Hoshino said an examination of video surveillance from homes and businesses along the route Chasen traveled would be part of the investigation.

"Our detectives are following up on all aspects of the crime. That is one consideration," Hoshino said. "At this point, it is a wide open investigation."

Beverly Hills police said they received a 911 call at 12:28 a.m. on Tuesday, reporting the sound of gunshots in the area where Chasen was found. When authorities arrived at the scene, they found a Mercedes-Benz E-350 sedan crashed into a lamp post near the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Whittier Avenue with a "lone female occupant." The woman was still alive.

Chasen, who had multiple gunshot wounds to her chest, was taken by ambulance to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.

Hoshino described the Beverly Hills intersection as being in a very residential area -- lined almost entirely by homes and situated near the Los Angles Country Club -- though he noted that Sunset Boulevard is a "two-lane major thoroughfare."

"This type of incident is extremely rare," he said, adding, "We don’t know if anything was taken from the vehicle, is the reality."

A longtime resident of the neighborhood, who spoke to FoxNews.com on condition of anonymity, said she was watching television inside her home when she heard a loud "boom." She said her son, who was in a different part of the house, also reported hearing gunshots.

The woman and her son walked out of their home and approached the vehicle. The driver was "bleeding very heavily" and the front window on the passenger's side was smashed.

There were no other vehicles in the area. "It's a very quiet street in the evening," she said.  

Investigators on Tuesday seized computers from Chasen's Los Angeles-based firm, Chasen and Co., for possible evidence in the case.

Hoshino declined to say if a specific lead prompted authorities to take the computers, saying, "That's our standard operating procedure."

Chasen reportedly left a post-premiere party at the W Hotel in Hollywood sometime around midnight and was on her way home to the Regency Wilshire, a high-rise apartment building in Westwood. The driving distance along Sunset Boulevard is approximately 6 miles.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Chasen left a voicemail message for staff at 12:22 a.m. -- 6 minutes before her vehicle crashed into the lamp post -- outlining a to-do list for her employees.

"I believe that a call might have been placed to her office," Hoshino told FoxNews.com. "I don’t have the details of it."

News of Chasen's killing has sent shock waves through the industry she worked in for more than 30 years.

"I had the extreme pleasure of working with Ronni on 'Driving Miss Daisy,"' Morgan Freeman, who was nominated for an Oscar for the film, said in a statement to The Associated Press. "We've been friends ever since. She is someone I greatly admired, and she will be remembered."

Chasen was involved in Hollywood publicity since the 1970s. She also promoted "On Golden Pond," which won Oscars for best actor, actress and screenplay in 1981.

In recent years, she worked with a number of music clients, including Janet Jackson, composer Hans Zimmer, producer Glen Ballard and Diane Warren, who wrote the song "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me," which Cher sings in "Burlesque."

The Beverly Hills Police Department is urging anyone with information on the crime to call the detective tipline at 310-288-2656.

The Palm Springs International Award Gala and Film Festival is reportedly offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for Chasen's death. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report 

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