A suspect has been arrested in the killing of Jacqueline Avant, the Beverly Hills Police Department announced in a press conference on Thursday.
Police arrested Aariel Maynor, 29, who allegedly shot and killed Avant after breaking into her Beverly Hills home early Wednesday morning. Avant was the wife of music industry legend Clarence Avant, the mother of Democratic fundraiser Nicole Avant and the mother-in-law of Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos.
Police said that Maynor was apprehended after shooting himself in the foot during the commission of a burglary in the Hollywood Hills, about an hour after Avant was shot at her home in the Trousdale Estates neighbourhood of Beverly Hills.
Several cameras caught Maynor’s vehicle driving east out of Beverly Hills after the shooting, Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark Stainbrook said. Around 3:30am, Hollywood police responded to a reported shooting in the backyard of a home in the 6000 block of Graciosa Drive, off of Beachwood Drive in the Hollywood Hills. There, they found Maynor, who had accidentally shot himself in the foot while allegedly taking items from the home. He was arrested by LAPD and remains in custody. Police believe he is the only suspect involved.
Investigators have seized the vehicle and an AR-15 rifle, which they suspect was used in both crimes, police said. The caliber of the weapon matches the bullets fired at the Avant house, but full ballistics analysis has not been completed, Stainbrook said.
Stainbrook said that Maynor has an extensive criminal record and is on parole.
Blake Chow, a deputy chief at LAPD, said that an “astute watch commander” at the LAPD Hollywood division was the first to connect the two crimes on Wednesday, and contacted Beverly Hills investigators.
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Maynor has not been interviewed by police due to his medical condition, Stainbrook said.
Beverly Hills police received a call at 2.23am local time on Wednesday saying that Avant had been shot in the 1100 block of Maytor Place. A private security guard, who was unhurt, was at Avant’s home at the time of the incident. Avant was taken by Beverly Hills paramedics to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she died. She was 81.
Avant was known for her philanthropic work, including serving on the board of directors of UCLA’s International Student Center and as president of the Neighbors of Watts.
After news of Avant’s death broke on Wednesday morning, Hollywood figures, musicians, politicians and more shared tributes to her.
“Jackie Avant was a wonderful woman, a great partner to Clarence and mother to Alex and Nicole, an active citizen and a dear friend to Hillary and me for 30 years,” President Bill Clinton tweeted. “She inspired admiration, respect and affection in everyone who knew her. We are heartbroken. She will be deeply missed.”
Tavis Smiley, Reginald Hudlin, Donna Brazile, Diane Warren, Viola Davis, Stevie Wonder and Magic Johnson were among those who shared their condolences. Tyler Perry pledged that “every available resource will be used to find whoever is responsible for this awful nightmare.”
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