Boyfriend arrested in murder of mother of two

SAN DIEGO - A man allegedly gunned down his live-in girlfriend in front of her two young children early Wednesday during a quarrel at their Lake Murray-area apartment and remained at large for nearly 12 hours before being arrested at a relative's home.

Roderick Lamar Harris, 32, surrendered peacefully to Chula Vista police 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, the mother of the suspect's year-old son and a 5-year-old boy from a prior relationship.

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. It was not immediately clear how or when he had been injured.

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

About 1 a.m., neighbors reported hearing an argument and gunfire from within the couple's apartment in the 6400 block of Lake Arrowhead Drive.

Patrol officers found the mortally wounded woman inside the residence along with her traumatized but unharmed sons, who had been in the same room as the suspect and victim when the shooting occurred, Del Toro said. Bobo died at the scene from gunshots to her upper body.

Witnesses reported seeing Harris speed off in a blue Nissan Maxima with dealer plates, Del Toro 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.

"There was a lot of motivation to bring this person to justice, because of the ... potential harm (he might cause) and the harm that was already done, especially to the 5-year-old, who, we believe, witnessed his mother being killed in his presence," the lieutenant said.