Jacqueline Avant, the wife of music icon Clarence Avant and mother-in-law to Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos, was shot and killed Wednesday morning at the couple’s home in Beverly Hills, California.
Police were alerted to the shooting at around 2:23 a.m. and upon arrival discovered Jacqueline, 81, with a gunshot wound, Chief Mark Stainbrook of the Beverly Hills Police Department said at a news conference on Wednesday afternoon, according to The New York Times.
The suspect or suspects had fled by the time police were able to get to the scene.
Details surrounding the incident are scarce. Stainbrook said that the police would not speculate on whether Jacqueline had been shot during an attempted robbery.
"Obviously, someone went into the home. We just don’t know what the purpose was or what the motive was behind it," Stainbrook said, according to the Times, adding that a security guard was at the home during the shooting. He declined to comment further other than to suggest that Jacqueline may have been deliberately targeted.
"I don’t think it’s a random attack, but I can’t speculate on that right now," he noted, via the Times.
Jacqueline was married to Clarence for over 50 years. Her husband is a highly regarded music producer and executive who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year, according to CNN. He was also the subject of the 2019 documentary "The Black Godfather."
"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," Jacqueline's family said in a statement. "She will be missed by her family, friends, and all of the people she has helped throughout her amazing life."
Shortly after news of her death broke, tributes came pouring in from prominent members of the community. Among them was Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., who described Jacqueline's death as "tragic" and "shocking" in a statement obtained by CNN.
"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," Bass said.
"Cookie and I are absolutely devastated at the loss of one of our closest friends Jackie Avant," added Magic Johnson. "She was senselessly murdered last night in a home invasion. This is the saddest day in our lives."
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