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Jacqueline Avant killed in Los Angeles shooting arrested

LOS ANGELES – Beverly Hills Police have made an arrest in the fatal shooting of Jacqueline Avant, wife of the music director known as the “Godfather of Black Music.”

Aariel Maynor, 29, was arrested after surveillance footage showed him leaving the Avant’s home shortly after the shooting, Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark Stainbrook said Thursday.

Jacqueline Avant, 81, was shot dead Wednesday morning in the Beverly Hills home she shared with her husband Clarence Avant. Police said they responded to calls about a shooting around 2:23 a.m., where paramedics rushed her to hospital, but she did not survive.

It is not known if Clarence Avant was home at the time.

The Los Angeles Police Department received a report of a shooting around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, about an hour after Jacqueline Avant was shot.

Maynor allegedly robbed a Hollywood home and shot himself in the foot, Stainbrook said. LAPD agents took him into police custody after finding a gun at the scene.

Authorities have yet to be able to interview Maynor, who was rushed to hospital for treatment for his injuries. He has a “lengthy” criminal history and is currently on parole, Stainbrook said.

“We only consider him a suspect,” Stainbrook said. “But again, there’s still a lot of evidence to look at, so we’re leaving open the possibility that other people are involved.”

Investigators had no possible motive for the death of Jacqueline Avant. Stainbrook added that it was still not clear whether their home was targeted by the suspect.

“Ms. Avant’s death is an incredible loss to our community,” said Stainbrook. “The department and has been in contact with the Avant family and we continue to offer our support.”

Jacqueline Avant, who was previously a model at the Ebony Fashion Fair, married Clarence Avant in 1967 and the couple had two children together. Clarence Avant is a beloved musical executive, dubbed by many industry players the “godfather of black music”.

He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year, where his legacy was reflected by black cultural icons such as Bill Withers, Lionel Richie and former President Barack Obama.

The couple’s daughter, Nicole Avant, credited her mother with helping her dad balance in the 2019 documentary “The Black Godfather.”

Jacqueline Avant’s family have issued a brief statement thanking authorities following the arrest of a suspect in the case.

“Our deepest gratitude to the City of Beverly Hills, BHPD and all law enforcement agencies for their diligence in this matter,” the family said. “Now justice be done.”

This is a breaking story, please check for updates.

Andrew Blankstein and Diana Dasrath reported from Los Angeles. Doha Madani reported from New York.

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