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A suspect in the murder of an octogenarian philanthropist in Beverly Hills is under arrest.
Aariel Maynor, 29, was arrested for the murder of Jacqueline Avant, 81, the Beverly Hills Police Department announced on Thursday.
Avant was pronounced dead following a deadly late night home invasion at her Beverly Hills house on Wednesday. Police were called to the residence, in the 1100 block of Maytor Place, for reports of a shooting around 2:30 a.m.; they found Avant suffering from a gunshot wound and transported her to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Maynor was taken into police custody about an hour later after he allegedly shot himself in the foot with an AR-15 while burglarizing a separate residence in the 6000 block of Graciosa Drive in Los Angeles — slightly more than six miles from the Avant home.
Beverly Hills detectives seized the weapon and gathered evidence that connected Maynor to Avant’s slaying. Police said the killing’s exact motive is still under investigation. The Associated Press reported that Maynor was on parole when he allegedly committed both crimes.
“To the Beverly Hills Community, let me reassure you, this is one of the most protected and patrolled cities in the world,” Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark G. Stainbrook said following the arrest. “Crime of any kind will not be tolerated here. Let this be a message to anyone thinking of committing a crime in Beverly Hills — you will be caught and brought to justice.”
Avant was married to Grammy-winning music executive Clarence Avant, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year. Clarence Avant, who was known as the “Godfather of Black Music” was a label owner, producer, promoter, and manager. He founded Sussex Records in 1969 and then Tabu Records in 1976.
Jacqueline Avant, a former model, met Clarence Avant at the Ebony Fashion Fair in the mid-1960s, according to NPR. The couple had two children, Alexander and Nicole.
Their daughter, Nicole Avant, is a film producer and is also a former U.S. ambassador to the Bahamas, according to the Associated Press. She's married to Netflix co-CEO and Chief Content Officer, Ted Sarandos.
Several music icons, celebrities, and famous athletes have since voiced their condolences for Avant’s family on social media.
"She was the purest of souls in every sense, & was the Rock of Gibraltar for Clarence, their children, her friends, & community,” music producer Quincy Jones said. “We are all, every single one of us, better people because Jacquie was in our lives."
“Jackie was the sweetest person you could ever meet,” former NBA legend Magic Johnson also wrote on Twitter. “She had a beautiful soul, kind heart, & always had a kind word for everybody. “She was quiet, yet powerful, & very smart. We are crying for Clarence, Nicole, & Alex’s loss. Our thoughts & prayers go out to the entire family.”
Former President Bill Clinton, who was a decades-long friend to Avant, described the 81-year-old as a “wonderful woman.”
“She inspired admiration, respect & affection in everyone who knew her,” Bill Clinton also said in a statement. “We are heartbroken. She will be deeply missed.”
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