BEVERLY HILLS (CBSLA) — Jacqueline Avant, the wife of music executive Clarence Avant, was shot to death Wednesday in an apparent home invasion in Beverly Hills.
Beverly Hills police say a shooting at the 1100 block of Maytor Place was called in at 2:23 a.m. Wednesday. When officers arrived, they found a woman with a gunshot wound, and there were no suspects at the scene.
The woman was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, but did not survive. At an afternoon news conference, Beverly Hills police Chief Mark Stainbrook confirmed the woman killed was 81-year-old Jacqueline Avant.
“The Avant family’s contributions to the world of entertainment and to better communities across Los Angeles are unmatched,” Stainbrook said. He said the department is in contact with the family and offering their support and resources.
Avant was the wife of 90-year-old music executive Clarence Avant and mother-in-law of Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos. Clarence Avant, who was not injured in the shooting, is known as the “Godfather of Black Music” who worked with the likes of Louis Armstrong, the SOS Band, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, and Babyface.
Clarence Avant and a security guard were present at the time of the shooting, but they were not hurt, Stainbrook said.
Stainbrook said he was asked to thank everyone for their messages of support and condolences on behalf of the Avant family.
“Jacqueline was an amazing woman, wife, mother, philanthropist, and a 55-year resident of Beverly Hills who has made an immeasurable, positive contribution and impact on the arts community. She will be missed by her family, friends, and all of the people she has helped throughout her amazing life,” Stainbrook read from the Avant family’s statement.
The Avants were married for 54 years. Danny Bakewell Sr., who is the owner of the Black newspaper the Los Angeles Sentinel, says he is a lifelong friend of the Avant family and was “overwhelmingly pained” at the loss of such a beautiful person.
“For her to be killed in such a senseless way is unfathomable. There are no human beings more kind and generous than Clarence and Jackie, and for their home and their lives to be violated in such a violent manner is unconscionable,” he said in a statement.
Homicide investigators are at the home, which is located in the Hollywood Hills, between Coldwater Canyon and Laurel Canyon Boulevards.
“I cannot believe this is happening to our neighborhood,” Vida Ardebichi, a neighbor who said she’d often see the 81-year-old Avant out walking, said.
While investigators are done processing the scene, the investigation is far from over. Authorities did say it’s too early to determine a motive in this shooting. But in recent weeks, there has been increase in follow-home robberies, that have prompted the LAPD to issue an alert last month. A number have involved celebrities, including TV personality Terrence J and “Real Housewife” Dorit Kemsley.