Police arrest 29-year-old man in fatal shooting of Jacqueline Avant
Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark G. Stainbrook, left, addresses the media during a news conference, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, in Beverly Hills, Calif. Jacqueline Avant, the wife of music legend Clarence Avant, was fatally shot in Beverly Hills early Wednesday. Second from left is Beverly Hills Mayor Robert Wunderlich. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
The Associated Press
Published Thursday, December 2, 2021 3:55PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, December 2, 2021 4:55PM EST
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) - 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, police said Thursday.
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 at that home that was believed to have been used in the shooting of Jacqueline Avant. Maynor accidentally shot himself in the foot with the gun, police said, and is being treated before he can be booked into jail.
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 not yet determined Maynor's motive or whether he targeted the Avant home or it was a random attack. It was not immediately known if he had an attorney.
Maynor has previous felony convictions for assault, robbery and grand theft.
Police were called to the Avants' home early Wednesday after a 2:23 a.m. call reporting a shooting. Officers found Jacqueline Avant, 81, with a gunshot wound. She was taken to the hospital but did not survive.
Clarence Avant and a security guard at their home were not hurt during the shooting.
Surveillance camera footage showed the suspect's vehicle driving east out of 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 (11.27 kilometers) from the Avant residence - for a reported shooting. They found Maynor there, as well as evidence of a burglary at that home, and took him into custody.
At some point that night, an “astute watch commander” in the LAPD's Hollywood Division “put two and two together” and reached out to Beverly Hills investigators, according to LAPD Deputy Chief Blake Chow.
Jacqueline Avant was a longtime local philanthropist who led organizations that helped low-income neighborhoods including Watts and South Los Angeles, and was on the board of directors 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 concert promoter and manager who mentored and helped the careers of artists including Bill Withers, Little Willie John, L.A. 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 Rep. Karen Bass of California and music star Quincy Jones.
“The heaviness of my heart today is unlike any other that I have ever experienced in my life,” Jones said on Instagram. “She was the purest of souls in every sense, & was the Rock of Gibraltar for Clarence, their children, her friends, & community. We are all, every single one 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 all the Avant family.”