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Suspect arrested in shooting death of Jacqueline Avant

By Cheri Mossburg, CNN

A man has been arrested in the shooting death of Jacqueline Avant, philanthropist and wife of music icon Clarence Avant.

“We’re very pleased to announce today that we have arrested a suspect in the homicide of one of our beloved Beverly Hills residents,” Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark Stainbrook announced in a briefing Thursday.

Multiple surveillance videos showed the suspect’s vehicle leaving the Avant’s affluent neighborhood after the shooting, Stainbrook said.

The 29-year-old suspect has an extensive criminal history and is on parole, according to police.

Avant was shot and killed in the couple’s Beverly Hills home early Wednesday morning. Her husband and a private security guard were at the home at the time of the shooting, police said.

Los Angeles Police responded to a separate burglary call about an hour after the shooting at the Avant residence and found a man in the backyard of a Hollywood home seeking help for a gunshot wound. According to police, he told first responders he had accidentally shot himself in the foot.

Police have recovered a weapon of the same caliber used in the shooting of Mrs. Avant. LAPD said the gun was an AR-15 rifle.

Stainbrook, who was sworn in as chief just two days ago, did not offer a motive for Avant’s shooting, saying it was too early in the investigation to speculate. On Wednesday, he said the shooting did not appear to be random.

“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 Avant family said in a statement Wednesday. “She will be missed by her family, friends, and all of the people she has helped throughout her amazing life.”

Jacqueline and Clarence Avant married in 1967 and had two children together, Nicole and Alexander. Clarence Avant 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.

Nicole Avant is married to Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos.

News of Avant’s death rattled the music world and beyond, eliciting condolences from the likes of basketball great Magic Johnson to former President Bill Clinton.

™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Stella Chan contributed to this report.

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