Update: The home invasion that led to the killing of a well-known music executive's wife may have been a targeted one, at least according to the chief of the Beverly Hills police. "I don't think that it's a random attack, but I can't speculate on that right now," Mark Stainbrook said at a Wednesday press conference on the attack that killed 81-year-old Jacqueline Avant, wife of Clarence Avant, reports Deadline. Stainbrook didn't offer up any further details, but he did read a statement from the Avant family, which thanked everyone "for their outpouring of love, support, and heartfelt condolences for Jacqueline Avant." The story has touched big names in politics and entertainment, including former President Clinton, who said he was "heartbroken" to hear of Avant's killing, and actor and director Tyler Perry, who vowed in an Instagram post that "every available resource will be used to find whoever is responsible for this awful nightmare." Our original story from Monday follows:
An 81-year-old woman with prominent ties to the entertainment industry was killed in a Beverly Hills-area home invasion early Wednesday. Deadline reports Jacqueline Avant was shot and killed in her home in the Trousdale Estates. She's the wife of longtime music executive Clarence Avant, famed for signing Bill Withers (best known for hits like "Lean on Me" and "Ain't No Sunshine") to his Sussex Records. The Avants are parents to Nicole Avant, who is married to Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos. Nicole Avant produced the 2019 Netflix film The Black Godfather, a documentary about her dad.
The Hollywood Reporter received confirmation from a Netflix rep that Clarence, who was reportedly home at the time, was not injured. TMZ, which first reported the news, says a security guard was wounded. Police received a 911 call at 2:23am. The Hollywood Reporter elaborates on Clarence Avant's career, reporting he mentored and helped launch the careers of artists including Michael Jackson, LA Reid, and Babyface, and became chair of Motown Records in 1993. The Avants married in 1967 and also have a son, Alexander Du Bois Avant. (Read more home invasion stories.)