Actor Michael Jace, who played a police officer on the hit TV show “The Shield,” was arrested Tuesday after authorities said he called the emergency dispatcher and told an operator he had shot his wife.
Detectives were investigating whether the couple’s financial problems or other marital difficulties played a role in the killing that police said occurred during an argument Monday night while the couple’s two sons, both under 10, were in the house.
Police were unsure if the children witnessed the argument or gunfire. They were placed with relatives.
April Jace, 40, was shot multiple times and was found dead in a hallway of the family home in the quiet, modest Hyde Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. Police recovered a handgun believed to belong to her husband, Los Angeles police Detective Dean Vinluan said.
“She came home with the kids and then the dispute happened and the shooting happened,” he said.
Jace called the emergency dispatcher, said he’d shot his wife and then was seen walking out of the home as officers arrived, Vinluan said. He was detained and later arrested.
Jace was booked on suspicion of homicide, and detectives intend to review the full emergency call and other calls from neighbors reporting that shots had been fired before he is formally charged.
Jace, 51, is best known for his role as LAPD Officer Julien Lowe in “The Shield.” He also appeared on the show “Southland” and had small roles in the movies “Planet of the Apes,” `’Boogie Nights” and “Forrest Gump.”
Vinluan said there had been no reports of domestic violence at the home. However, the actor had been under financial pressure in recent years. He declared for bankruptcy in 2011 and had been delinquent on payments as recently as December.
Next-door neighbor Shirley Harding described the Jaces as good, hands-on parents.
“I never heard arguments,” she said. “I just heard happiness over there.”
The actor has a son from a previous marriage and was accused in divorce proceedings of being violent toward his ex-wife.
Maria de la Vega, a close friend of Jace’s ex-wife Jennifer Bitterman, wrote in a court filing that she saw the actor become violent several times. In August 1997, de la Vega wrote, Jace choked Bitterman and slammed her head into a wall while their infant son was crying in a crib next to them.
In his filing, Jace wrote that he and Bitterman “were both guilty of overstepping physical boundaries.”
April Jace was a schoolteacher for 10 years before taking a job in March 2013 as a financial aid counselor at Biola University, a private Christian school. Geoff Marsh, Biola’s senior director of financial aid, said she had a radiant personality.
“Her love for helping students and families and her great work ethic earned the respect and love of her co-workers,” he said in a written statement.
Michael Jace’s bankruptcy continued…