The mother-in-law of Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos was shot to death Thursday during a break-in at her Beverly Hills home after the killer smashed through a backyard sliding glass door.
Jacqueline Avant, 81, was shot in the stomach during the 2:20 a.m. attack but was alert en route to a hospital. She later died, which was surprising because she was expected to pull through, TMZ reported. She is the wife of music producer Clarence Avant, a legend in the black community with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
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Clarence Avant and a security guard were home at the time of the killing, but no additional details have been released about the incident. The gunman escaped, and it’s not clear what he stole, if anything. Beverly Hills police told local KTLA TV that this did not appear to be a random attack. Police told Fox11 that although there were suspicious circumstances surrounding the shooting, they did not yet want to classify it as a home invasion or follow-home robbery.
This is the third home invasion robbery within the past month in the Trousdale Estates of Beverly Hills, where the cost of homes averages more than $11 million. The area is home to DreamWorks’ Jeffrey Katzenberg and has been inhabited by A-listers dating back to the days of Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin.
Frightened residents have pooled together their money and hired a security patrol in the wake of these attacks, but the company has not started yet, TMZ reported.
Although San Francisco has dominated the news with smash-and-grab lootings, Los Angeles has had its share of recent violence as well. The Louis Vuitton and Nordstrom stores in Beverly Hills were looted, and celebrities have been targeted in follow-home robberies.
Dorit Kemsley of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills was home when thieves burst in and stole handbags and jewelry, while actor Terrence Jenkins narrowly escaped a robbery attempt by a group that shot at him outside his house.
Meanwhile, politicians and celebrities have expressed shock and horror at Avant’s murder. Jacqueline had been a well-known philanthropist, while Clarence, 90, mentored black recording artists and was the focus of the recent Netflix documentary Black Godfather. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year.
“Cookie and I are absolutely devastated by the loss of one of our closest friends, Jackie Avant. She was senselessly murdered last night in a home invasion. This is the saddest day in our lives,” Magic Johnson tweeted.
Cookie and I are absolutely devastated at the loss of one of our closest friends Jackie Avant. She was senselessly murdered last night in a home invasion.💔😢 This is the saddest day in our lives.— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) December 1, 2021
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Even former President Bill Clinton offered condolences.
“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.”
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.— Bill Clinton (@BillClinton) December 1, 2021