Man pleads guilty to shooting girlfriend while she was holding their baby

Roderick Lamar Harris

SAN DIEGO — A man who shot his girlfriend in the back in their San Carlos apartment as she was shielding their baby in her arms and standing near her 5-year-old son pleaded guilty Wednesday to second-degree murder and child abuse.

Roderick Lamar Harris, 33, will be sentenced to 35 years to life in prison at a hearing Feb. 1 for killing Vanessa Bobo on Oct. 12, 2016.

Neighbor Bryan Fields testified at a preliminary hearing last year that he was watching television just after midnight when he started hearing noises and heard a woman yell for help.

The witness said he saw the 29-year-old Bobo and Harris on a patio, but the defendant forced the victim back inside their apartment.

Fields testified that he thought the confrontation was over, but then heard three gunshots and heard the defendant slam the door and leave the apartment on Lake Arrowhead Drive.

As he was getting off the phone with police, Fields said he heard a child scream and went to the couple’s front door. Fields said he opened the door and saw a baby on the couch and the 5-year-old standing there.

“I heard the (5-year-old) son say his dad killed his mom,” the witness testified.

Prosecutors said Harris — a security guard and an avid shooter — retrieved a .357 Magnum and followed the victim into her 5-year-old son’s bedroom.

Bobo tried to shield their 11-month-old son from the defendant, but Harris fired, with one shot striking her in the back, severing her spinal cord and causing her to drop the baby, prosecutors said. Neither child was injured.

Harris — who had been dating Bobo for about four years — fled after the shooting, but was arrested in the South Bay about 12 hours later. A number of firearms were recovered from the couple’s apartment, according to prosecutors.