LOS ANGELES — Beverly Hills police made an arrest in the fatal shooting of Jacqueline Avant, wife of the music executive 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 and killed early Wednesday morning at the Beverly Hills home she shared with husband Clarence Avant. Police said they responded to calls about a shooting at about 2:23 a.m., where paramedics rushed her to the hospital but she did not survive.
It is unclear whether Clarence Avant was home at the time.
The Los Angeles Police Department received a report of a shooting at about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, roughly an hour after Jacqueline Avant was shot.
Maynor was allegedly burglarizing a Hollywood home and shot himself in the foot, Stainbrook said. LAPD officers took him into custody after finding a rifle on the scene.
Authorities have not yet been able to interview Maynor, who was taken to the hospital to be treated for his injuries. He has an “extensive” criminal history and is currently out on parole, Stainbrook said.
“We’re looking at only him as a suspect,” Stainbrook said. “But again, there’s a lot of evidence to still go through so we’re leaving open the possibility there could be other people involved.”
Investigators did not have a possible motive for Jacqueline Avant’s death. Stainbrook added that it remained unclear whether their home was targeted by the suspect.
“Mrs. Avant’s death is an incredible loss for our community,” Stainbrook said. “The department and has been in contact with the Avant family and we continue to offer our support.”
Jacqueline Avant, who once modeled in the Ebony Fashion Fair, married Clarence Avant in 1967, and the couple had two children together. Clarence Avant is a beloved music executive, dubbed by many in the industry as a the “Godfather of Black Music.”
He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year, where his legacy was reflected upon 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 keep her father balanced in the 2019 documentary “The Black Godfather.”
Jacqueline Avant’s family offered a brief statement thanking authorities following the arrest of a suspect in the case.
“Our deepest gratitude to The City of Beverly Hills, the BHPD and and all law enforcement for their diligence on this matter,” the family said. “Now, let justice be served.”
This is a breaking story, please check back for updates.
Andrew Blankstein and Diana Dasrath reported from Los Angeles. Doha Madani reported from New York City.