Cops: Jace confessed to killing wife on 911 call

By: CBS
By: CBS
Actor Michael Jace, who played a police officer on television, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of fatally shooting his wife after calling 911 and telling an operator that he shot her, police said.

In this image taken from video from OnScene.tv, actor Michael Jace, right, is detained by police outside his home in Los Angeles on Monday night, May 19, 2014. Jace, who played a police officer on the hit TV show "The Shield," was arrested on suspicion of homicide after his wife was found shot to death in their Los Angeles home, authorities said. (AP Photo/OnScene.tv)

Los Angeles, CA (CBS) - Actor Michael Jace, who played a police officer on television, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of fatally shooting his wife after calling 911 and telling an operator that he shot her, police said.

Detectives were investigating whether the couple's financial or other marital difficulties might have played a role in the killing.

Los Angeles police Detective Dean Vinluan said a printout of the incident history indicated that Jace called 911 and told the operator that he shot his wife.

Detectives intend to review multiple 911 calls placed after the shooting to determine what had happened before Jace is formally charged.

Jace, 51, who appeared on the hit FX series "The Shield," was being held on $1 million bail after being accused of shooting his wife multiple times during an argument in their home in the quiet, modest Hyde Park neighborhood of Los Angeles.

In a press release, police cited domestic violence as a motive for the murder. Neighbors reported hearing arguing coming from the home before shots rang out, reports KNBC. April Jace suffered gunshot wounds in the upper body, according to KNBC.

Next-door neighbor Shirley Harding said she heard at least three gunshots Monday night. She described Michael and April Jace as good, hands-on parents.

"They were just lovely parents," Harding said. "I never heard arguments, I just heard happiness over there."

Police responded to the report of shots fired around 8:30 p.m. Monday night to a home in the 5400 block of Byrnhurst avenue in Los Angeles' Hyde Park district, LAPD Sgt. Albert Gonzalez told Crimesider. The body of April Jace, 40, the actor's wife of 10 years, was found in a hallway of the home.

Police recovered a handgun believed to belong to her husband, Vinluan said.

The actor was seen walking out of the home when officers arrived. He was detained and later arrested.

"We don't know if he came out of fear or was trying to get out of there," Vinluan said.

Police told CBS LA the couple's two young sons were at home at the time of the shooting. The boys had reportedly just returned home from little league practice with their mother when the shooting happened, reports the station.

"When there's children involved, it's very sad. It's unclear if they saw the shooting, but they heard the shooting," LAPD Det. Sal LaBarbera told the station. "And now to be left with no mother and no father, it's a very sad situation for all the kids involved."

The children are both under 10 years old, reports the LA Times.

"They were not physically hurt, but obviously their emotions are running high," LaBarbera told the Times.

The District Attorney has not formally filed charges against Michael Jace, Gonzalez said. The actor was transported to a police station for questioning and later booked on suspicion of murder early Tuesday.

Jace will likely go before a judge for a preliminary hearing within 48 hours of his arrest, Gonzalez said.

Jace played police officers in the TV series "The Shield" and "Southland" and had roles in "Forrest Gump" and "Planet of the Apes." He also reportedly starred opposite Russell Crowe in the film "State of Play."

Records show Jace filed for bankruptcy protection in March 2011, listing debts between $500,000 and $1 million. Much of the debt appeared to be related to his home, which he owed more on than it was worth, and more than $22,000 he owed in state and federal income taxes. More than $20,000 of his tax delinquency was owed to the state of California for the year 2008.

April Jace had worked as a financial aid counselor at Biola University, a private Christian school, since March 2013.

"April's radiant personality brought great energy to the Financial Aid Office," Geoff Marsh, senior director of financial aid wrote in a statement. "Her love for helping students and families and her great work ethic earned the respect and love of her co-workers. Her smiling face and helpful spirit will be missed by all."

In a statement of his assets, Jace checked off a box indicating he didn't own any firearms.

Jace had agreed to a payment plan in the bankruptcy, but by November 2013 had fallen behind by nearly $2,000. A trustee sought to dismiss the case over the late payments, but that petition was withdrawn on Dec. 24, 2013, records show.

There are no records of any criminal cases involving Jace in Los Angeles.

Coroner's Assistant Chief Ed Winter said April Jace's body had been removed from the home and an autopsy would not be performed until Wednesday at the earliest.

Calls from The Associated Press seeking comment from Jace's agents at SMS Talent were not immediately returned.

CBS/AP


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