By Gloria Zuurveen
On Thursday, Aariel Maynor was arrested as a suspect in the killing of Jacqueline Avant, a philanthropist and wife of music legend Clarence Avant. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, the Beverly Hills police arrested Maynor and accused him of entering the couple’s Trousdale Estates home early Wednesday and shooting Avant with an AR-15 rifle. The police did not disclose a motive for the attack. But hours later, Maynor shot himself in the foot at another home during an alleged burglary attempt, police said, and that is how he was connected to the Avant slaying.
The community of Los Angeles is mourning Avant as an icon who cared and shared not just her money but her time as well. She once served as president of the Neighbors of Watts, a support group for the South Central Community Child Care Center, and as entertainment chair of the NOW benefit auction.
The senseless killing of Mrs. Avant, 81, in her own home reverberated throughout the nation. Former president Bill Clinton express his condolences to the family in a tweet.
He said, “She 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.”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said, “Truly she was an angel in the City of Angels.” He added, “She and Clarence, Nicole their daughter, I’ve known for many years, and I’ve seen and witnessed the way their generosity touched the lives and transformed the lives and even saved the lives of so many people in this city and in this country. And my thoughts continue to be with the Avant family today.”
Congresswoman Karen Bass said, “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.”
During Black Music Month in June of 2017, Earl “Skip” Cooper, President and CEO, Black Business Association, honored Clarence Avant with the Life Time Achievement Award and Mrs. Avant was in attendance and she was cheering on her better half and husband since 1967.
It was inspirational to see the expression of joy on her face as Mr. Avant received his honor from Cooper.
Cooper said, “I was devastated to my core, when I received the news on the loss of a very special lady Jackie Avant. If you knew Jackie, you would know she represented so many different aspects of a beautiful woman inside and out. Jackie was special, she was not just a wonderful mother and wife; she was the foundation and the organizer of Clarence Avant’s legacy and family unit.
She amplified greatness with her warm smile and calming spirit. I am so very thankful that I was able to speak with Jackie last week unaware it would be my last conversation with such a remarkable beautiful sole. My sincere condolences to my friend Clearance and his children Nicole and Alex. I pray God brings you strength and comfort during this devastating and difficult time in your life.
“Prayer is Where The Battles
Of Life Are Won and Lost.
Stay Strong in Prayer,
Stay Blessed and
Always Walk In Faith”
I am in a state of shock. My dear friend, Jackie Avant, was murdered. This kind and compassionate woman, was a friend to so many and we simply cannot accept what has happened to her. My condolences to Clarence, Alex and Nicole. We mourn with you. Love, Maxine and Sidney,” Congresswoman Maxine Waters said.