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Man arrested in fatal shooting of Jacqueline Avant in Los Angeles

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LOS ANGELES — Beverly Hills police made an arrest in the fatal shooting of Jacqueline Avant, the wife of the music executive known as the "Godfather of Black Music."

Aariel Maynor, 29, was arrested after security video showed him leaving the Avants' home shortly after the shooting, Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark Stainbrook said Thursday.

Jacqueline Avant, 81, was shot and killed early Wednesday at the Beverly Hills home she shared with her husband, Clarence Avant. Police said they responded to calls about a shooting at about 2:23 a.m. Paramedics rushed her to the hospital, but she did not survive.

It is unclear whether Clarence Avant was home at the time.

Los Angeles police received a report of a shooting at about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, about an hour after Avant was shot.

Stainbrook alleged that Maynor was burglarizing a home in Hollywood and shot himself in the foot. Los Angeles police officers took him into custody after they found a rifle at the scene.

Authorities have not yet been able to interview Maynor, who was taken to the hospital to be treated for his injuries. He has an "extensive" criminal history and was out on parole, Stainbrook said.

"We're looking at only him as a suspect," Stainbrook said. "But again, there's a lot of evidence to still go through, so we're leaving open the possibility there could be other people involved."

Investigators said they did not know of a motive for Avant's death. Stainbrook said it remained unclear whether their home was targeted.

"Mrs. Avant's death is an incredible loss for our community," Stainbrook said. "The department has been in contact with the Avant family, and we continue to offer our support."

Jacqueline Avant, who once modeled in the Ebony Fashion Fair, married Clarence Avant in 1967, and the couple had two children together. Clarence Avant is a beloved music executive, dubbed by many in the industry as the "Godfather of Black Music."

He was inducted this year into the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame, where Black cultural icons like Bill Withers, Lionel Richie and former President Barack Obama reflected upon his legacy.

The couple's daughter, Nicole Avant, credited her mother with helping keep her father balanced in the 2019 documentary “The Black Godfather.”

Jacqueline Avant's family offered a brief statement thanking authorities after the arrest.

"Our deepest gratitude to The City of Beverly Hills, the BHPD and all law enforcement for their diligence on this matter," the family said. "Now, let justice be served."

Andrew Blankstein and Diana Dasrath reported from Los Angeles. Doha Madani reported from New York City.

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