LOS ANGELES -- A man who killed himself as he was confronted by detectives investigating the slaying of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen talked about serving time in prison, expressed fear that police were looking for him and vowed to die rather than return to custody, according to neighbors.
Beverly Hills police declined to provide any details Thursday about the case, including what role the man might have played in Chasen's killing and what led detectives to execute a search warrant at the Hollywood apartment building where he was living.
Several law enforcement officials and a neighbor identified the man as Harold Smith.
John Walsh, host of the television show "America's Most Wanted," said he believed detectives started to focus on Smith after the show's staff passed along a tip from the public. At the request of Beverly Hills police and people in the entertainment industry, the show recently featured Chasen's slaying and asked viewers for information that would help the homicide investigation, Walsh said.