Arraignment rescheduled for suspect in brutal Lake Murray killing of girlfriend

Posted at 8:30 AM, Oct 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-14 22:24:49-04

SAN DIEGO - Arraignment was postponed Friday for a man accused of shooting his live-in girlfriend to death in front of her 5-year-old son at their Lake Murray-area apartment.

Roderick Lamar Harris, 32, was scheduled to be arraigned Friday afternoon on one count of first-degree murder in San Diego Superior Court. He was booked into the San Diego Central Jail early Friday morning after being released from a hospital.

However, a judge rescheduled Harris' arraignment for Monday. The specific reason for the postponement was not provided, but 10News learned Harris was placed in a safety cell.

Chula Vista police took Harris into custody at a family member's home in the 200 block of Woodlawn Avenue shortly before 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, about 12 hours after the shooting death of 29-year-old Vanessa Bobo.

Bobo was also the mother of Harris’ 1-year-old son, who was in the apartment during the shooting.

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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 was expected to questioned by homicide detectives before being booked into county jail on suspicion of murder, SDPD Lt. Manny Del Toro said.

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

Patrol officers found the children traumatized, but unharmed, 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, adding, "It woke us all up this morning out of our sleep."

A GoFundMe page established for Bobo’s two sons had raised more than $21,000 as of Thursday morning.

Witness detail's neighbor's interaction with victim's son after shooting

"She went and knocked on the door and the 5-year-old answered the door and said, 'My daddy shot my mommy,'" neighbor Josh Norris said.

Norris said his neighbor, who lives below Bobo's apartment, reacted with compassion and cared for the children.

"One of the officers came over and was talking to her while she was holding the one-year-old crying hysterically," Norris said.

10News talked to the woman off-camera, and she explained that she discovered the crime scene and called police all while caring for the kids.

Norris said he heard the couple fighting, adding, "She was at the top of her lungs telling him to leave; obviously, she had a good reason for not wanting him there … look at the outcome."

After Norris heard gunshots, he heard crying.

"The baby crying got louder and I noticed their downstairs neighbor went and knocked on the door to check on the kids and see if they were all right," Norris said.

Norris told police he saw the shooter walk away calmly and get into a Nissan Maxima. Two days later, he can't stop thinking about the children who lost their mother.

"You had two kids in the house and you just gunned down the mother of your children," Norris said.