Jacqueline Avant death has celebrities, communities in fear over brazen home invasions
The uptick in violent crimes has prompted criticism of zero-bail policies that have seen some suspects released back onto the streets shortly after being arrested
The death of Jacqueline Avant, a well-known philanthropist and wife of legendary music executive Clarence Avant, in her Beverly Hills home last week has furthered fears about the uptick in brazen home invasion robberies in and around Los Angeles amid an outpouring of grief.
The fatal shooting of Avant prompted a number of celebrities and public figures to pay tribute to her while also reflecting on the crime surge in Los Angeles and other American cities.
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In an interview with The Wrap, Tavis Smiley, a radio host and close friend of the Avant family, called the killing "barbaric." He noted that a mother with her baby in a stroller was robbed while in the driveway of her home in the affluent Hancock Park neighborhood last week.
"It’s one thing for it to happen in the ghettos and the barrios," he said. "When it starts happening in Trousdale Estates and Hancock Park, we’re in trouble. We’ve got some work to do."
Avant was home on Dec. 1 when Aariel Maynor allegedly broke in the Trousdale Estates residence and shot her. He was arrested a short time later in Los Angeles while committing another burglary in which he accidentally shot himself in the foot, police said.
Her death came a week after "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star Dorit Kemsley was held at gunpoint inside her home while her young children were inside. The burglars ransacked the residence and then left.
In remembering Avant, Oprah Winfrey called her the "classiest, kindest, and most calming presence."
"The fact that this happened, her being shot and killed in her own home, after giving, sharing, and caring for 81 years has shaken the laws of the Universe," she tweeted. "The world is upside down."
Maynor was expected to appear in court Monday for his arraignment, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office told Fox News.
The Los Angeles Police Department has formed a task force to investigate so-called "follow home" robberies in which suspects target their victims at upscale locations and follow them home where they demand their belongings.
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Former BET host Terrence Jenkins, better known as "Terrence J," was the victim of a follow-home robbery in November in the Los Angeles suburb of Sherman Oaks. The uptick in violent crimes has prompted criticism of zero-bail policies that have seen some suspects released back onto the streets shortly after being arrested.
"A number of them are not in jail because of the effort during the COVID crisis to downsize our custody settings," LAPD Chief Michel Moore told KNX Radio on Monday. "While [in] the initial days of this emergency, that was well intended, the consequences of it is that anyone arrested for burglary, auto theft and other crimes face a zero-bail situation."