Wednesday afternoon, Beverly Hills police chief Mark Stainbrook confirmed that 81-year-old Jacqueline Avant died from a gunshot wound.
According to CBS Los Angeles, the Beverly Hills police department responded to a call for a shooting at approximately 2:23 am Wednesday. They found Avant with a gunshot wound and no suspects at the scene when they arrived.
Avant was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center but did not survive.
Following the news of her death, the Avant family released a statement noting that “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. She will be missed by her family, friends, and all of the people she has helped throughout her amazing life.”
Jacqueline Avant was the wife of Clarence Avant, the 90-year-old music executive known as the “Godfather of Black Music.” While many recognize Clarence Avant for his role in the music industry, many recognize Jacqueline Avant for her philanthropy and being a common sight in her Beverly Hills neighborhood.
Remembering Jacqueline Avant
While many remember Jacqueline Avant for her relationship with Clarence Avant, the Los Angeles Times notes that despite being around many famous men, Jacqueline made her own contributions to society and art that should not be forgotten.
Avant was a supporter of the UCLA International Student Center and the former president of the Neighbors of Watts, a support group for the South Central Community Child Care Center.
Aside from her philanthropy, Avant was known for being very cultured. She served on the cultural committee for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and as entertainment chairman of the NOW benefit auction.
Jacqueline and Clarence Avant had strong relationships, not just with musicians but politicians and athletes as well. Their daughter Nicole remembers President Jimmy Carter being in their living room, and former President Bill Clinton sent out a statement on Twitter regarding Jacqueline’s death.
Bill Clinton was not the only well-known name to remember Jacqueline Avant. Former basketball player Magic Johnson posted his condolences on his Twitter account.
With so many prominent celebrities and politicians mourning the loss of Jacqueline Avant, this tragic event has some fans wondering if there is more to the story than is being told to the public, considering a recent trend of robberies in Los Angeles have been targeting celebrities and high-end restaurants.
Is Jacqueline Avant’s death related to recent LA robberies?
Police chief Stainbrook was repeatedly asked on Wednesday afternoon if Jacqueline Avant’s death was connected to earlier robberies in the Los Angeles area. Still, many believe he avoided answering the question directly and instead only defended the safety of Beverly Hills.
Stainbrook noted that “Beverly Hills remains one of the safest cities in the United States, in the nation. This type of crime in Beverly Hills is extremely rare, although in this case so unfortunate for someone’s life to be taken who was such a wonderful part of this community and gave so much back to everyone else. It’s horrific.”
Stainbrook also said it was too soon to say what happened and what kind of attack this was. He did say, “I don’t think it’s a random attack. I can’t speculate on that right now.”
At this time, Stainbrook said that it did not appear that anything was taken from the home, but it can be hard to tell when “processing the scene.”
In November, BET host Terrence Jenkins was tracked to his home and shot at when he attempted to leave. The month before, robbers stole as much as $1 million in valuables from the mansion of “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Dorit Kemsley.
If Jacqueline Avant’s death is related to this string of robberies, she is unfortunately not the first victim to be shot and killed. On November 23, a man was shot and killed during an attempted robbery near Brazilian restaurant Bossa Nova in Hollywood.
Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore announced that a task force was being set up to handle these “follow-home robberies.” According to the LAPD, at least 133 similar robberies throughout Los Angeles are being investigated.