Actor Michael Jace arrested for wife's murder in Hyde Park

Michael Jace's neighbors described hearing gunfire Monday night. The actor is accused of murdering his wife in Hyde Park.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Actor Michael Jace, best known for "The Shield," was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of fatally shooting his wife of nine years in their Hyde Park home.

Jace, 51, was taken to the police station for questioning before being booked for murder. His bail was set at $1 million.

Los Angeles police allege Jace shot his wife April Jace, 40, multiple times in a hallway at about 8:30 p.m. Monday in the 5400 block of Brynhurst Avenue. Authorities believe Jace called 911 admitting to the shooting, according to the Associated Press.

April and their two young boys had just returned home from baseball practice, police said.

"What I am told now is April had come home with both boys from baseball practice, and it does not appear that they were home for more than 10-15 minutes when the shooting occurred," said LAPD Detective Sal Labarbera. "It is still unclear if there was any type of dispute or argument leading up to the shooting."

The children were moved into the care of their grandparents after the shooting.

Neighbors said they didn't suspect any trouble between the couple. Neighbor Brandon Cook said Jace, his wife and two young sons appeared to be a happy family.

"I was shocked," Cook said. "I was totally shocked."

LAPD Detective Dean Vinluan told the Associated Press that there had been no reports of domestic violence at the home. However, the actor had been under financial pressure in recent years, according to the AP. He declared for bankruptcy in 2011 and had been delinquent on payments as recently as December.

As police continue to investigate the motive, Eyewitness News has obtained court documents surrounding Jace's divorce from his first wife, Jennifer Bitterman, some 10 years ago. Those documents show a history of domestic violence.

In one case, a friend who lived with the couple claimed to have witnessed an incident in which "Respondent (Jace) choked and hit Petitioner and slammed her against the wall while Jordan (their son) screamed in his crib next to her. Respondent was raging and out of control and seeing the extent of his anger was one of the most terrifying things I have ever seen."

Meantime, April Jace's colleagues at Biola University, where she began working as a financial aid counselor in March 2013, are shaken up by her sudden death.

"We are obviously shocked and saddened by this terrible news, to lose a wonderful colleague, mother and friend," Biola president Barry Corey said.

Michael Jace played a detective on "The Shield," which aired on FX. He has also made appearances on the shows "Southland" and "The Mentalist." Along with the TV roles, Jace appeared in feature films including "Forrest Gump" and "Planet of the Apes."

Anyone with information is asked to call Criminal Gang and Homicide Division Detectives Connie Zych or Lyman Doster at (213) 485-1383.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Related Topics:
entertainment shooting celebrity crime homicide investigation celebrity Hyde Park
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