Police Arrest Man in Killing of Jacqueline Avant, Motive For Shooting Still Unclear

A man was arrested in Los Angeles suspected of shooting and killing prominent philanthropist Jacqueline Avant, police said Thursday though the motive is still unknown, according to the Associated Press.

Aariel Maynor, 29, of Los Angeles was arrested Wednesday and is reportedly receiving treatment for an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound before he is transported to jail.

Beverly Hills Police responded to a report of a shooting at the Avant's home around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, where they found 81-year-old Avant with a gunshot wound. Avant was transported to a local hospital where she later died, the AP reported.

About an hour after the first shooting, Los Angeles police responded to a report of an attempted burglary about seven miles away from the Avant residence where the alleged perpetrator accidentally shot himself in the foot, according to Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark Stainbrook.

Police found Maynor with an AR-15 rifle that is believed to be the weapon that was used to shoot Avant, along with surveillance footage they say shows Maynor's car leaving Beverly Hills after the time of the shooting, the AP reported.

Maynor was released from a California prison on parole in September after serving a sentence for a second-degree burglary charge and also has past convictions for assault and grand theft, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Police said it is currently unknown if Maynor intentionally targeted the Avant's home or if it was a random incident, and said the evidence currently points to Maynor as the only suspect, the AP reported.

Avant was a longtime philanthropist in the Los Angeles area with connections to former President Bill Clinton and served in leadership positions of several Los Angeles charitable organizations.

Her husband, Clarence Avant, 90, is a Grammy-winning music executive nicknamed the "Godfather of Black Music" who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year.

For more reporting from The Associated Press, see below.

Jacqeuline Clarence Avant, Shooting, Suspect, Burglary
Jacqueline Avant was fatally shot early Wednesday in Beverly Hills, California. Police announced Thursday the arrest of an individual they say is responsible for the shooting which took place during what is suspected as an attempted burglary at the home. Above, Jacqueline Avant, left, and Clarence Avant appear at the 11th Annual AAFCA Awards in Los Angeles on January 22, 2020. Mark Von Holden/Invision via AP File

It was not immediately known if Maynor had an attorney.

Clarence Avant and a security guard at their home were not hurt during the shooting.

At some point that night, an "astute watch commander" in the LAPD's Hollywood Division "put two and two together" and reached out to Beverly Hills investigators, according to LAPD Deputy Chief Blake Chow.

Jacqueline Avant was a longtime local philanthropist who led organizations that helped low-income neighborhoods including Watts and South Los Angeles, and was on the board of directors of the International Student Center at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Clarence Avant was also a concert promoter and manager who mentored and helped the careers of artists including Bill Withers, Little Willie John, L.A. Reid, Babyface, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.

The Avants' daughter, Nicole Avant, is a film producer and former U.S. ambassador to the Bahamas and is married to Netflix co-CEO and Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos.

Tributes to Jacqueline Avant poured in from across the country. She was remembered by former President Bill Clinton, basketball icon Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Democratic Representative Karen Bass of California and music star Quincy Jones.

"The heaviness of my heart today is unlike any other that I have ever experienced in my life," Jones said on Instagram. "She was the purest of souls in every sense, & was the Rock of Gibraltar for Clarence, their children, her friends, & community. We are all, every single one of us, better people because Jacquie was in our lives."

Actor and director Tyler Perry tweeted that his "heart breaks for Clarence and Nicole and all the Avant family."

Jacqeuline Clarence Avant, Shooting, Suspect, Burglary
Yellow Police tape blocks access to the 1100 block of Maytor Place where Jacqueline Avant's house is at the top of the hill, in Beverly Hills, California, on December 1, 2021. Following the fatal shooting of Avant, police announced December 2 the arrest of a suspect. Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images