Suspect arrested in fatal shooting of Jacqueline Avant

Aariel Maynor was taken into custody after allegedly shooting himself in the foot at the scene of a separate home invasion

A suspect has been arrested in fatal shooting of Jacqueline Avant, the philanthropist and wife of legendary music executive Clarence Avant.

The 81-year-old was killed in the early hours of Wednesday (December 1) by what was believed at the time to be at least one unknown assailant who was not on-site when officers arrived at the scene, as reported by Variety.

Clarence Avant and a private security guard were present at the time of the shooting but were not injured.

Beverly Hills Police have now revealed (via Rolling Stone) that 29-year-old Aariel Maynor was taken into custody yesterday (December 2) after he allegedly shot himself in the foot at the scene of a separate home invasion in the Hollywood Hills.

Maynor was in possession of an AR-15 rifle at the time of his arrest by LAPD officers, which came about an hour after Avant’s shooting. An “astute watch commander” helped piece together an alleged connection between the two incidents after reaching out to Beverly Hills Police, according to LAPD Deputy Chief Blake Chow.

The suspect allegedly left Trousdale Estates in a vehicle that was picked up by multiple surveillance cameras, including city cameras, heading eastbound out of Beverly Hills, police have said.

At around 3:30am PST on Wednesday, LAPD’s Hollywood division responded to a separate reported shooting on the 6000 block of Graciosa Drive where they found Maynor with a gunshot wound to his foot in the backyard of a residence, according to Chow.

“They interviewed people that were living in that residence. They collected evidence of a burglary and also evidence of a shooting, including the rifle,” Chow said in a statement, identifying the firearm as an AR-15 assault rifle. “It appears as though, yes, he was in the house and collecting property, and then after that, somehow discharged a weapon and apparently shot himself in the foot.”

Jacqueline Avant and Clarence Avant
Jacqueline Avant and Clarence Avant. CREDIT: Xavier Collin/Image Press Agency

According to Beverly Hills police chief Mark Stainbrook, he wasn’t aware of any prior connection between Maynor and the Avant family. “But we’re still investigating that possibility,” he said.

The motive behind Avant’s fatal shooting remains under investigation, Stainbrook said. “At this time we’re looking at only him as a suspect,” he said of Maynor, adding that investigators were working on ballistics evidence recovered from both scenes to possibly match the recovered rifle to Avant’s death.

Jacqueline was known for her philanthropic efforts including being on the board of directors of UCLA’s International Student Center and having acted as president of the Neighbors of Watts.

Her husband, Clarence, has been celebrated by artists including JAY-Z and Diddy for cultivating African American artists’ careers. He’s known for his work at Motown Records, among other labels.

The Avants’ daughter Nicole is married to Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos and produced a 2019 documentary for the platform about her father titled The Black Godfather.

In a statement, the Avant and Sarandos families said they were grateful for the “outpouring of love, support and condolences” in the wake of the senseless tragedy.

“Jacqueline was an amazing woman, wife, mother, philanthropist, and a 55 year resident of Beverly Hills, who has made an immeasurable positive contribution and impact on the arts community,” the statement said. “She will be missed by her family, friends and all of the people she has helped throughout her amazing life.”

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