Actor Michael Jace, best known for portraying a Los Angeles police officer on the television drama “The Shield,” was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of fatally shooting his wife, April, during an argument at their Hyde Park home.
Jace, 51, was arrested at about 3 a.m., according to Los Angeles police Detective Lyman Doster. Jace was booked on suspicion of murder and was being held on $1 million bail.
The shooting occurred around 8:30 p.m. Monday in the 5400 block of Brynhurst Avenue. Police said the couple’s two children—both under age 10—were in the home at the time, and they were placed in protective custody. April Jace had an older son from a previous relationship.
The celebrity website TMZ.com reported that Jace called 911 himself to report that he had shot his 40-year-old wife. The actor stayed on the phone as instructed until LAPD officers arrived and found the woman’s body, the website reported.
Doster said “There were numerous calls from the cell phone in his (Jace’s) possession to 911.”
The case is being investigated by the LAPD’s Criminal Gang and Homicide Division detectives. Officer Rosario Herrera, an LAPD spokeswoman, told City News Service the case was most likely assigned to the division because it is “high profile and getting a lot of attention.” Typically, high-profile cases at the LAPD are assigned to the Robbery Homicide Division, but Herrera said “that’s not always the case.”
Police said the killing was a case of domestic violence.
According to April Jace’s Facebook page, the couple would have celebrated their 11th anniversary next month. She had posted multiple photos of her children, her family, she friends and an anniversary photo taken last year of her and Michael Jace sitting and smiling at a table with a caption that read, “Happy 10 year anniversary to us.”
April Jace worked at Biola University in La Mirada as a counselor in their financial aid office.
“We are obviously shocked and saddened by this terrible news, to lose a wonderful colleague, mother and friend,” said Biola President Barry H. Corey. “Our community is in prayer for April’s family and the Financial Aid Office as they deal with the shock of this tragedy. The Financial Aid Office will be closed all day on Tuesday, May 20, 2014.”
Geoff Marsh, senior director of financial aid for the university, said April Jace’s “love for helping students and families with her great work ethic earned the respect and love of her coworkers. Her smiling face and helpful spirit will be missed by all.”
Biola’s Assistant Director of Public Relations Brenda Velasco told CNS that April Jace began working at Biola in March 2013.
“April was friendly, helpful, and made a lot of friends who cared a lot about her,” Velasco said.
Jace is best known for his role as LAPD Officer Julien Lowe in “The Shield.” He has also appeared in such films as “Forrest Gump,” “Boogie Nights” and “Planet of the Apes.”
He was previously married to Jennifer Bitterman, but the couple divorced in 2002. The Los Angeles Times reported on its website that Bitterman accused Jace of domestic violence in court papers. She contended that Jace threatened to kill her if she fought him over visitation of their son.
The Times also reported that Jace filed for bankruptcy in 2011, citing debts of more than $500,000. A neighbor told the paper that the actor had struggled to find steady work since “The Shield” ended its run.