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In this file photo taken on August 18, 2016: Jacqueline and Clarence Avant attend the NMAAM 2016 Black Music Honors in Nashville, Tennessee. Image Credit: AFP

Beverly Hills police have made an arrest in the killing of Jacqueline Avant, a prominent Los Angeles philanthropist, political insider and the wife of music legend Clarence Avant.

Police arrested Aariel Maynor, 29, of Los Angeles in connection with the homicide, Beverly Hills authorities said during a news briefing Thursday.

Maynor used an AR-15 rifle during the Avant shooting and then shot himself in the foot at another home during an alleged burglary attempt in Hollywood, police said.

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Jacqueline Avant was a prominent Los Angeles philanthropist, political insider and the wife of music legend Clarence Avant. Image Credit: AFP

Multiple surveillance cameras showed Maynor’s vehicle heading east out of Beverly Hills after the shooting in which Avant was killed, authorities said.

Shortly after the Beverly Hills incident, police from the Los Angeles Police Department’s Hollywood division arrived to a home in the 6000 block of Graciosa Drive. They found a man in the backyard who had a gunshot to his foot. Police determined that he had accidentally shot himself during an alleged burglary attempt at the home and was arrested and taken to a local hospital.

An “astute watch commander” in Hollywood connected the dots to the Avant case and alerted Beverly Hills, LAPD Deputy Chief Blake Chow said. Maynor has been in police custody since then.

“It is a sad case, and although we are happy we have an arrest, I feel so bad for the family,” Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark Stainbrook told the Los Angeles Times.

Police say the suspect allegedly shot Jacqueline Avant with an AR-15 rifle in the Avants’ home. The Beverly Hills Police Department has taken charge of the investigation into the both the Beverly Hills and Hollywood incidents. Police say surveillance and other evidence, including the rifle, linked Maynor to both cases.

“To the Beverly Hills Community, let me reassure you, this is one of the most protected and patrolled cities in the world,” Stainbrook said Thursday. “Crime of any kind will not be tolerated here. Let this be a message to anyone thinking of committing a crime in Beverly Hills: You will be caught and brought to justice.”

Jacqueline and Clarence Avant lived in the upscale Trousdale Estates neighbourhood. Early Wednesday morning, at least one person got into their home and shot Jacqueline. Clarence and a security guard were also at the home during the shooting, Stainbrook said.

Police responded to a call of a shooting in the 1100 block of Maytor Place shortly before 2.30am on Wednesday, and officers found Jacqueline with a gunshot wound when they arrived. She was taken to Cedars-Sinai Hospital, where she later died.

The chief said it appeared that nothing obvious had been taken from the home, but it will take some time to say with certainty.

Law enforcement sources told the Times that at least one intruder made it into the home before the shooting. Aerial video of the scene Wednesday showed a sliding glass door that appeared to have been shattered.

Jacqueline Avant, 81, was a prominent figure in national Democratic politics for decades as well as an LA philanthropist.

She served at one time as the president of the Neighbors of Watts, a support group for the South Central Community Child Care Center and as entertainment chairman of the NOW benefit auction.

Her husband is a legendary figure in the music industry, working with or advising such stars as Jimmy Smith, Lalo Schifrin, Babyface, Bill Withers, Sixto Rodriguez, the SOS Band and Cherrelle.

Known as the “Black Godfather,” he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2016 and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2021.

Avant’s slaying sent shockwaves through Hollywood as well as political circles, where she was a beloved figure.

Reginald Hudlin, who directed a 2019 documentary about Clarence Avant, described Jacqueline as “a universally loved and admired role model in our community and in our lives” and said he was devastated by the news.

Their daughter, Nicole Avant, served as US ambassador to the Bahamas during President Barack Obama’s administration and is married to Ted Sarandos, co-chief executive and chief content officer for Netflix. In 2007, she described her parents’ deep ties to Democratic leaders, including Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Former President Bill Clinton was among those who paid tribute to Avant after the shooting, tweeting that she was “a wonderful woman, a great partner to Clarence and mother to Alex and Nicole, an active citizen & a dear friend to Hillary and me for 30 years.”

“She inspired admiration, respect & affection in everyone who knew her,” Clinton said. “We are heartbroken. She will be deeply missed.”