Jacqueline Avant death investigation: Police seek motive behind deadly Beverly Hills shooting

An investigation continues after the deadly shooting of philanthropist Jacqueline Avant, which has rocked a tight-knit community in Beverly Hills.

Mrs. Avant, 81, was married to Clarence Avant, known as "The Godfather of Black Music."  The 90-year-old legendary music executive was recently inducted into the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame in October. 


Music executive Clarence Avant and his wife Jacqueline Avant attend Netflix's "The Black Godfather" premiere at Paramount Studios Theatre on June 3, 2019 in Los Angeles. (Photo by LISA O'CONNOR / AFP) (Photo credit should read LISA O'CONNOR/AFP via G

The pair had been married for more than five decades before tragedy struck during the early morning hours of Dec. 1.

RELATED: Jacqueline Avant, wife of music legend Clarence Avant, shot and killed at Beverly Hills estate

Beverly Hills PD received a call about a break-in in the affluent Trousdale Estates neighborhood around 2:30 a.m.

First responders found a woman suffering from at least one gunshot wound. Mrs. Avant was rushed to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Officials with the Beverly Hills Police Department said there were suspicious circumstances surrounding the shooting, but they were not ready to call it a home invasion or a follow-home robbery because the motive remains so unclear in the investigation.

Investigators are looking closely at a shattered sliding glass door of the home. During this stage of the investigation, it’s unclear whether the suspect entered or exited from the glass door.


It was revealed Thursday Mrs. Avant was an art collector who had an assortment of Japanese artifacts. 

Authorities said there was a security guard at the Avant residence during the time of the shooting. However, he was not armed. 

Now, residents are coming together to hire more private security.

"It’s so unsettling because this is a neighborhood where the escape route is very far away. You don’t have any options so nobody ever comes here to do such a thing," said neighbor Michael Naim. "This is so brazen, so unusual. I think a lot of neighbors are now feeling very insecure after this."

The call on City, County leaders to offer a reward in the investigation 

During a news conference that was held in Leimert Park Thursday morning, community leaders called on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the City of Beverly Hills to offer up a reward to capture her killer.

Community activist Najee Ali said her "murder was carried out by cowards."

Michael Lawson, the President and CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League is close with the Avant family and has known them since 2003.  

"The pain they have inflicted on us has no bounds," Lawson said of those responsible for Mrs. Avant’s death. 

"This was not just a robbery. This was not just a random killing. This was a shot to the hearts of all of us. She was not only gentle and kind, she was a pillar of that family, he said.  "This is not only appalling, this is senseless and this cannot be allowed to continue. This act was not just senseless, but it is gut-wrenching."

However, the shooting has not been declared a robbery by investigators.

It was revealed Thursday Mrs. Avant was an art collector who had an assortment of Japanese artifacts.  

While community leaders said Beverly Hills PD is doing a great job, they are calling for additional resources in the investigation because the department isn’t experienced with murders, since it’s such a rare occurrence in the area. 

Remembering Jacqueline Avant

Those who knew Mrs. Avant are left devastated.

The Avant family released the following statement Wednesday:

"Jacqueline was an amazing woman, wife, mother, philanthropist and 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 the people she has helped throughout her amazing life." 

"Her murder was not just a loss to the family, it was a loss to the community," Robert Sausedo said Thursday. 

Entertainment mogul Tyler Perry said every resource would be used to find her killer.

Fellow music legend Quincy Jones said he was devastated "beyond words," who considered Mrs. Avant a sister-in-law. 

"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. 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," Perry said in a series of tweets Wednesday. 

"Jackie Avant 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. We are heartbroken. She will be deeply missed," former President Bill Clinton wrote on social media. 

"Jackie was the sweetest person you could ever meet. She had a beautiful soul, kind heart, & always had a kind word for everybody. She was quiet, yet powerful, & very smart. We are crying for Clarence, Nicole, & Alex’s loss. Our thoughts & prayers go out to the entire family," Los Angeles Lakers legend and businessman Magic Johnson tweeted. 

Congresswoman Karen Bass issued the following statement in a press release:

"I’m heartbroken by this morning’s news of the tragic and shocking murder of Mrs. Jacqueline Avant. Mrs. Avant was a force of compassion and empowerment locally and nationally for decades, as well as a model of service and giving back to those who needed it most. The devastating events of last night along with recent reports of brazen crime in Los Angeles rupture the expectation of safety we have for our friends, families and fellow Angelenos. Whether you are in South Los Angeles or Beverly Hills, all of us have a right to be safe and last night was an absolute violation of that right. Those responsible must be held fully accountable. My thoughts are with Mr. Avant, Nicole and Ted, Alex and the rest of the Avant family as they mourn the loss of such a wonderful wife, mother and friend."

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Beverly Hills PD.

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