Beverly Hills police said Wednesday they do not believe the fatal shooting of Jackie Avant was a “random attack.”
The shooting was reported at 2:23 a.m. Wednesday, in the 1100 block of Maytor Place, according to police. Paramedics transported Avant to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where the 81-year-old was pronounced dead.
Jackie’s husband, former Motown boss Clarence Avant, is widely regarded as the “Godfather of Black Music” for helping to launch the careers of a long list of music stars, including Quincy Jones and Bill Withers.
The shooting occurred during a break-in at the couple’s home in the wealthy Trousdale Estates community of Beverly Hills. During a media briefing just after 2 p.m., Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark Stainbrook was asked about the circumstances surrounding the shooting.
“I don’t think it was a random attack,” he said. “I can’t speculate on that right now.”
The suspect or suspects remain at large, added Stainbrook, as he appealed to the public for information.
“This is a difficult day for our city,” the police chief of the normally quiet city said. It was just his third day on the job he told reporters.
Jackie Avant’s daughter, Nicole Avant, served as U.S. ambassador to the Bahamas during President Barack Obama’s administration, and is the wife of Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos. Nicole co-produced a 2019 Netflix documentary about her father’s life titled “The Black Godfather.”
“The Entire Avant and Sarandos families wish to thank everyone for their outpouring of love, support and heartfelt condolences for Jacqueline Avant. Jacqueline was an amazing woman, wife, mother and philanthropist and a 55 year resident of Beverly Hills who has made an immeasurable positive impact on the arts community. She will be missed by her family, friends and all of the people she has helped throughout her amazing life,” the families said in a statement Wednesday.
Stainbrook described the Avants as pillars in the entertainment and local communities.
“The Avant family’s contributions to the world of entertainment, and the communities across Los Angeles are unmatched,” he said. “There are no words to express our profound sorrow for this immense loss for
Jacqueline’s husband, Clarence, their children and the entire Avant family.”
Movie and TV mogul Tyler Perry vowed “every available resource” would be used to help track down the gunman.
“My heart breaks for Clarence and Nicole and all the Avant family. This world can be so cruel and cold!! I have no idea what kind of sub-human could shoot an 81 year old woman, and in her own home,” Perry wrote on Instagram. “But you can rest assured that every available resource will be used to find whoever is responsible for this awful nightmare. This is tremendously sad.”