Michael Jace of The Shield Told Police He Shot Wife April Jace

Celebrity News May. 21, 2014 AT 10:30AM
Michael Jace and wife April in 2004 The Shield actor Michael Jace told a 911 operator that he fatally shot his wife, April Jace; records indicate he had financial problems and was involved in a contentious custody battle with his ex Credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty

Michael Jace, who played a police detective on the FX series The Shield, told a 911 operator that he shot his wife, April Jace, on Monday, May 19, law enforcement officials said late Tuesday, May 20.

Los Angeles police detective Dean Vinluan told CBS News that a printout of the incident history indicated that Jace admitted to the shooting when he called 911. Investigators plan to review multiple calls before the actor is formally charged; currently, he's in jail on $1 million bail.

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As previously reported, Jace, 51, was detained for questioning on Monday night and then taken into custody early Tuesday morning. According to police, he shot his wife multiple times before calling 911. Officers arrived to find her dead in the hallway. The couple's two sons were at home at the time of the shooting. 

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A neighbor, Shirley Harding, heard the gunshots on Monday evening. Prior to that, she told the Associated Press, there had been no indication of trouble. "I never heard any arguments," she said. "I just heard happiness over there." (Vinluan confirmed that there had been no previous reports of domestic violence at the Jaces' household.)

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Other reports indicate, however, that Jace was involved in a contentious custody battle with his ex-wife, Jennifer Bitterman. According to the AP, Bitterman's friend Maria de la Vega claimed in a court filing that she once witnessed Jace choking his then-wife Bitterman and slamming her head into a wall. Jace, for his part, wrote that he and Bitterman "were both guilty of overstepping physical boundaries."

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Per CBS News, Jace also had some financial problems. Records indicate that the veteran TV actor filed for bankruptcy protection in March 2011, with debts between $500,000 and $1 million. He reportedly agreed to a payment plan to pay off those debts but fell behind by November 2013.

An autopsy is expected to be performed on April Jace today, May 21.

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