Man accused of fatally shooting Lake Murray mother in front of her children arrested in Chula Vista

Posted at 4:58 AM, Oct 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-13 11:03:09-04

SAN DIEGO - A man allegedly gunned down his live-in girlfriend in front of her 5-year-old son at their Lake Murray-area apartment early Wednesday morning and remained at large for nearly 12 hours before being arrested in the South Bay.

Chula Vista police took Roderick Lamar Harris, 32, into custody at a family member's home in the 200 block of Woodlawn Avenue shortly before 12:30 p.m. in connection with the shooting death of 29-year-old Vanessa Bobo, who also was the mother of the suspect's 1-year-old son.

Medics took Harris to a hospital for treatment of minor cuts he had suffered prior to the arrival of officers, according to San Diego police. Police said Harris' injuries were self-inflicted.

Following his release from medical care, Harris will be questioned by homicide detectives before being booked into county jail on suspicion of murder, SDPD Lt. Manny Del Toro said. He will be arraigned on Thursday. 

Residents in the 6400 block of Lake Arrowhead Drive reported hearing gunshots from inside the couple's apartment about 1 a.m., according to San Diego police.

Patrol officers found the victim and her traumatized but unharmed children inside the residence, Del Toro said. Bobo died at the scene from gunshots to her upper body.

The 5-year-old boy reportedly witnessed the shooting and provided a suspect description to police that led to the search for Harris. Witnesses reported seeing Harris drive off in a blue Nissan Maxima with yellow dealer plates, Del Toro said.

Neighbors told police they heard the victim and the suspect arguing prior to the shooting.

The motive for the shooting remains under investigation.

10News learned that while Harris was on the run, he posted the following Facebook status: "Sorry for what it looks like but I had a breaking point emotional abuse and cheated and lied and always under the threat of losing my child I guess in the end I still lose."

In another post, he said to his son: "I love you **** I was always there just so you know."

The 5-year-old boy is under the care of his father, while Harris' son is with relatives, police said.

The fact that the victim's sons were present at their mother's violent death "definitely pulled on the heartstrings of the officers involved," Del Toro told reporters during an afternoon briefing.

Ashley Reid, who lives near the couple, told 10News she's heard commotion coming from the couple's home.

"You can't really hear if it was the boyfriend she was fighting with," she said. "It was usually her that was more vocal."

Reid also told 10News she even considered seeing if the couple needed help when she's heard the arguing.

Reid said she heard the gunshots on Wednesday morning, adding, "It woke us all up this morning out of our sleep."