Jacqueline Avant, wife of the music icon Clarence Avant, who is known as the "Godfather of Black Music," was shot and killed in the couple's home on Wednesda. Jacqueline, Avant's wife of 54 years, died of a gunshot wound in the brutal crime. Police initially thought that robbery may have been the motive behind the brutal attack but now believes Clarence Avant may have been the actual target.
An investigation is on and police is yet to give out details about the horrifying murder. It is unclear whether Clarence Avant was home at that time. Jacqueline, 81, was also the mother-in-law to Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos.
On Wednesday, around 2:20 am, Beverly Hills police responded to calls of a shooting at the home of Jacqueline and Clarence Avant, they said in a statement. Police said on reached the scene they found Jacqueline lying in a pool of blood from a gunshot wound. She was immediately taken to a nearby hospital by paramedics but did not survive.
Later on Wednesday, a spokesperson for Netflix confirmed that Jacqueline Avant had been shot and killed. Potential suspects were not at the scene when officers arrived, police said.
Police suggested Avant may have been targeted and robbery may not have been the actual motive as believed earlier. The home is valued at an estimated $7 million. "I don't think it's a random attack, but I can't speculate on that right now," Beverly Hills Police Department (BHPD) Chief Mark Stainbrook said at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.
Stainbrook also read a statement shared by the Avant family.
"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," said Stainbrook. "She will be missed by her family, friends, and all of the people she has helped throughout her amazing life."
According to police, a security guard was there but still the attackers managed to enter the mansion. Authorities will now be reviewing the footage captured from the door camera. "A lot of times people think of home invasion when it comes to robbing or burglarizing a residence," Stainbrook said.
"And so obviously someone went into the home. We just don't know what for, what the purpose was or the motive was behind it."
According to a DailyMail report, authorities told the LA Timesthat at least one burglar made it into the $7 million mansion before Jacqueline was killed, although it is unclear if that person was apprehended.
Photos of the crime scene obtained by the DailyMail show a broken sliding glass door on the rear of the home, with pieces of glass strewn about the outdoor pool deck. It is unclear if the glass was broken by the gunshot, or during an altercation which culminated in Jacqueline's murder.
That said, after news of her death, leaders in the Los Angeles community paid tribute to Jacqueline. Jacqueline and Clarence got married in 1967 and had two children together. Clarence was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year. He was the subject of the 2019 documentary "The Black Godfather," which looked at his political influence, musical legacy and work with musicians like Bill Withers and Babyface.
"Cookie and I are absolutely devastated at the loss of one of our closest friends Jackie Avant," Magic Johnson tweeted. "This is the saddest day in our lives."
"I'm heartbroken by this morning's news of the tragic and shocking murder of Mrs. Jacqueline Avant. Mrs. Avant was a force of compassion and empowerment locally and nationally for decades, as well as a model of service and giving back to those who needed it most," Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA) said in a statement.