Investigators said Thursday that a prominent trial lawyer who was found fatally shot outside his home was the victim of a homicide.
Detectives spent several days trying to determine if Monday's shooting of Jeffrey Tidus was a homicide or suicide.
"We have gathered enough information now," Los Angeles County sheriff's Lt. Dave Dolson said. "We are certain it's a murder."
Tidus was shot as he went to fetch his laptop from his car outside his home in wealthy Rolling Hills Estates near Los Angeles. Detectives did not immediately label the death a homicide because no neighbors witnessed the shooting or saw anyone flee the scene.
No gun was found, but authorities said it was not unheard of for a weapon to be removed from a body immediately after a suicide.
Tidus was a successful lawyer who had represented several high-profile corporate clients, including Isuzu Motors of America, First Alliance Mortgage Co. and defunct subprime lender New Century Financial.
"If you had to go to court, he was the guy you would call," Tidus' brother Michael Tidus said.
Detectives were told some people might have held grudges against Tidus due to his legal work, but Dolson said it was too soon to say if Tidus was the victim of an orchestrated hit.
"It's all speculation right now," he said, declining to comment when asked if Tidus had received any threats.
During his 30-year career, Tidus represented a range of businesses and individuals including a lawyer who had been sued by the Church of Scientology, an elderly woman who helped rescue Jews during the Holocaust and several subprime lending firms, according to his firm's Web site.
The investigation was continuing and an autopsy was expected Thursday.