BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – A 29-year-old man has been arrested in the death of philanthropist Jacqueline Avant, who was fatally shot this week at the Beverly Hills home she shared with her husband, legendary music executive Clarence Avant, it announced Thursday the police.
Aariel Maynor is currently on parole and was taken into custody early Wednesday by Los Angeles police at a separate residence after a burglary there, Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark Stainbrook said.
Police recovered an AR-15 rifle from this house which was allegedly used in the murder of Jacqueline Avant. Maynor accidentally shot himself in the foot with the gun, police said, and is being treated before he can be jailed.
Authorities do not believe there are any other suspects in the Avant case, and Stainbrook said there are no outstanding threats to public safety.
Police have yet to determine Maynor’s motive or whether he targeted Avant’s home or if it was a random attack. It was not immediately known if he had a lawyer.
Maynor has previous convictions for assault, robbery and robbery.
Police were called to the Avant’s home on Wednesday morning after a 2:23 a.m. call reporting a shooting. Officers found Jacqueline Avant, 81, with gunshot wounds. She was taken to hospital but did not survive.
Clarence Avant and a security guard at their home were not injured in the shooting.
CCTV footage showed the suspect’s vehicle exiting Beverly Hills after the shooting, police said.
An hour later, Los Angeles Police Department officers were called to a home in the Hollywood Hills – about 7 miles from the Avant residence – to a reported shooting. They found Maynor there, along with evidence of a burglary at that house, and took him into custody.
At some point that night, an “astute shift commander” from the LAPD’s Hollywood Division “put two and two together” and contacted Beverly Hills investigators, according to LAPD Deputy Chief Blake Chow.
Jacqueline Avant was a longtime local philanthropist who ran organizations that helped low-income neighborhoods, including Watts and South Los Angeles, and served on the board of trustees of the International Student Center at the University of California, Los Angeles. .
Grammy-winning executive Clarence Avant is known as the “godfather of black music” and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year. The 90-year-old was also a promoter and concert manager who mentored and aided the careers of artists including Bill Withers, Little Willie John, LA Reid, Babyface, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
The Avants’ daughter, Nicole Avant, is a film producer and former U.S. Ambassador to the Bahamas and is married to Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos.
Tributes to Jacqueline Avant poured in from across the country. She was remembered by former President Bill Clinton, basketball icon Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Democratic Representative Karen Bass of California and music star Quincy Jones.
“The heaviness in my heart today is unlike any I have ever experienced in my life,” Jones said on Instagram. “She was the purest of souls in every way, and was the Rock of Gibraltar to Clarence, their children, his friends and his community. We are all, each of us, better people because Jacquie was in our lives.
Actor and director Tyler Perry tweeted that his “heart breaks for Clarence and Nicole and the whole Avant family”.
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