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Jacqueline Avant, Beverly Hills philanthropist and wife to music executive Clarence Avant, was shot on Wednesday in her home and later reported dead. Motives and number of suspects are both presently unknown, although a window has been reported broken and security was on site.
According to CBS Los Angeles, Beverly Hills police received a call at 2:23 a.m. Wednesday morning. There were no suspects on the scene, but officers did find Avant there with a gunshot wound. She was brought to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she would later be pronounced dead.
ABC7 Los Angeles describes that, after the shooting, police held a conference regarding the shooting but didn’t provide many additional details. Presently, no one is in custody in connection with the crime, and there are no descriptions of potential suspects available.
Homicide investigators have been to the home, but they claim the investigation is not yet finished. It’s presently too early to determine the presence of a motive, although there may be a connection with follow-home robberies that have been spiking into popularity against those perceived to be wealthy. Neighbors, including one Vida Ardebichi, cannot believe that something like this is “happening to our neighborhood.”
Sources like Fox LA are taking note of earlier follow-home robbery attempts including one against Dorit Kemsley, “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star, as well as Terrence J, a television host and actor living in Sherman Oaks.
KTLA reports that the scene was investigated on Wednesday, and that detectives have assured residents they are safe. There is some confusion regarding whether or not the Avant’s on site security was also harmed during the shooting, but Clarence Avant is noted to be unharmed.
Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark Stainbrook, wanting to avoid jumping to any conclusions, claims the department “will not speculate on anything that’s out there, including whether this was a robbery attempt or not.” According to NBC Los Angeles, it remains unclear whether any items were actually taken during or after the shooting. However, video from the air does show a shattered glass sliding door on the home. It’s unknown whether suspects may have entered through the broken sliding door.
According to The Daily Beast, Stainbrook may have some reason to believe that the Avant couple was deliberately targeted and that this was not part of the follow-home robbery string. Regardless, Variety reports more on Stainbrook’s point of view. The Police Chief states that “Crime of any type will not be tolerated in our city… We will not rest until the suspect or suspects in this case are brought to justice.” He also presses on the rarity of this type of crime in the Beverly Hills area.
A large number of people have reached out to support the family, and Stainbrook says he was asked to thank everyone for their messages on behalf of the family. Many are making reference to the Netflix Documentary about her husband, “The Black Godfather,” in order to point out Jackie Avant’s further positive reach on the entertainment industry and community. Nicole Avant, the couple’s daughter, claims that her mother brought Clarence Avant balance and the family their love for arts, culture, and entertainment.
There are also kind words from the likes of Danny Bakewell Sr, the owner of Black newspaper The Los Angeles Sentinel. He states, “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.”
Former President Bill Clinton also expressed great sadness at the loss of his “dear friend,” describing her as “an active citizen & a dear friend to Hillary and me for 30 years… She inspired admiration, respect & affection in everyone who knew her. We are heartbroken. She will be deeply missed.”
Jacqueline Avant was the president of Neighbors of Watts, a group that focuses on supporting children in the South Central Community. She was also on the board of the International Student Center at UCLA. She was married to Clarence Avant for 54 years.
Anyone with information is asked to report to investigators by calling (310)288-2656.