San Diego

Court on Hold for Man Accused of Killing Girlfriend in Front of Kids

Roderick Harris, 32, is the suspect in the killing of Vanessa Bobo, 29

A court appearance was postponed Friday for a man accused of shooting and killing his girlfriend in their Lake Murray-area apartment in front of the victim's 5-year-old son and infant.

On Wednesday morning, Vanessa Marie Bobo, 29, was found suffering from multiple gunshot wounds in the apartment she shared with her boyfriend, Roderick Lamar Harris, 32, on Lake Arrowhead Drive near Navajo Road, in a community about 15 miles east of downtown San Diego.

Witnesses told officers with the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) that they heard a fight, gunshots and then saw a man fleeing the home. When officers arrived at the scene, they found Bobo's lifeless body and the victim's 5-year-old son and crying baby inside the apartment. The children were not harmed, but were frightened.

After talking with Bobo's older child, officers identified Bobo's boyfriend, Harris, as the suspect in the shooting.

Harris was nowhere to be found, and police launched a search for the suspect, releasing a photograph of Harris to the public, warning that he was considered armed and dangerous.

Several hours into the manhunt, Harris was arrested near the 200 block of Woodlawn Avenue in Chula Vista. Police noticed several minor wounds on his body, and the suspect was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

Harris was released from the hospital Thursday night and booked into jail on suspicion of murder. Police have not released further details on a possible motive for the killing.

Harris' arraignment was scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Friday, however his attorney argued his client was not healthy enough yet to appear in court. For now, the legal proceedings have been postponed until Oct. 17.

According to police, Harris is the biological father of Bobo's younger child, who turns 1 on Oct. 21.

Her 5-year-old son who helped lead police to Harris is from a prior relationship; the boy is staying with his biological father while the infant is being cared for by family members, NBC 7 confirmed.

SDPD Homicide Unit Lt. Manny Del Toro said the involvement of the children in the crime makes the investigation difficult for police.

“It’s definitely very emotional,” said Lt. Manny Del Toro. “You don’t want to expose any type of violence to a person of any age but particularly when it’s a child, it definitely strikes a chord with us.”

Records indicate Harris has one prior domestic violence arrest, but no convictions. That prior incident was from a prior relationship and did not involve Bobo.

Following the shooting, one neighbor told NBC 7 it was not uncommon to overhear the couple fighting at the apartment complex.

On Friday, small stuffed animals and flowers could be seen on the staircase leading to Bobo's apartment, left behind as a mini memorial.

Off camera, NBC 7 spoke with Bobo's father who said his family needs time to grieve. He said Bobo's entire family, including three sisters, is uniting to be there for her children.

"One grandchild will never know his mother. The other will know how she died,"  the victim's father said.

As Bobo's youngest child turns one at the end of this month, the victim's father said her family has to try to celebrate a birthday while planning for a funeral.

A GoFundMe page has been created by loved ones to help support Bobo's children.

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