Jacqueline Avant, the wife of music legend Clarence Avant, was shot and killed at their Beverly Hills home early Wednesday.
Police responded to a report of a shooting around 2:23 a.m. in the 1100 block of Maytor Place, according to the Beverly Hills Police Department.
Officers arrived to find 81-year-old Jacqueline Avant suffering from a gunshot wound. She was taken to a local hospital, but did not survive, police said.
The shooter was no longer at the scene when officers arrived at the Beverly Hills home, according to the department. No description of was available of any suspects involved.
While the incident initially appeared to be a home invasion robbery, Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark Stainbrook said it was too early to determine what the motive was.
“The motives in this case are still unknown, and we’re investigating all possible motives. And we will not speculate on anything that’s out there, including if this was a robbery attempt or not,” the police chief said in a news conference.
Stainbrook said no else was injured during the incident at the home, which has a security guard. Law enforcement sources told the Los Angeles Times that a security guard who was on the property was also shot at during the incident.
Jacqueline Avant married record executive Clarence Avant in 1967, and the pair are parents to two children, including film producer and former U.S. ambassador Nicole Avant, who is married to Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos.
Clarence Avant, dubbed the Godfather of Black Music, is a renowned record executive and film producer who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year.
Jacqueline Avant was involved in philanthropic work, previously serving as president of the Neighbors of Watts, a support group for the South Central Community Child Care Center, and was on the board of directors of the International Student Center at UCLA, according to IMDB.
The family released a statement through Netflix, thanking community members for their condolences.
“The Entire Avant and Sarandos families wish to thank everyone for their outpouring of love, support and heartfelt condolences for Jacqueline Avant,” the statement read. “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. She will be missed by her family, friends and all of the people she has helped throughout her amazing life.”
The shooting shook community members in the Beverly Hills neighborhood.
“This is a disaster, this is so scary. Unbelievable,” said Vida Ardebilchi, the Avants’ neighbor. “This used to be such a safe neighborhood … I can’t believe this happened.”
Police chief Stainbrook said detectives remained on the scene Wednesday to conduct the investigation, and assured residents that they are safe.
“I want to assure and reassure the Beverly Hills community that your city remains safe and one of the safest in the nation,” the chief said. “Crime of any type will not be tolerated in our city and we will not rest until the suspect or suspects in this case are brought to justice.”
The chief said it was the investigation is “very fluid,” and that it’s early to speculate on the number of suspects involved or whether it was a targeted attack.
“I don’t think it’s a random attack, but I can’t speculate on that right now,” Stainbrook said.
U.S. Rep. Karen Bass released a statement saying she was “heartbroken” by news of the killing, calling Avant “a force of compassion and empowerment locally and nationally.”
“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,” said Bass, who is running for Los Angeles mayor.
The Beverly Hills shooting comes as Los Angeles police are warning about an increase of “follow-home robberies” targeting celebrities and upscale neighborhoods and restaurants.
Last month, actor and host Terrence Jenkins was able to escape a robbery attempt near a Sherman Oaks home.
In late October, “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Dorit Kemsley was robbed at her Encino home, with robbers taking expensive handbags, jewelry and watches.
Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore last week announced the creation of task force to catch follow-home robbers.
Anyone with information is asked to call investigators at 310-288-2656.