'The Shield' Star Michael Jace Charged With Murder

Prior to being charged for shooting his wife, the actor was best known for playing police officers.
5:20 | 05/21/14

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Transcript for 'The Shield' Star Michael Jace Charged With Murder
You may have well seen the actor Michael Jace on screen playing a cop in TV shows "The shield" or "Southland" tonight. Jace is behind bars for real accused of a grisly murder right in his own home. So what happened here? ABC's Ryan smith has the latest installment of our series "Crime and punishment." There was a guy going through the victim's pockets. I pulled hem oim off the body. Reporter: On TV he played one of the good guys, a strait-laced cop who fought corruption and crime on the shield. Last night 51-year-old actor Michael Jace wearing the handcuffs, arrested and booked for shooting to death his wife April with his two young sons in the house both under 10 years of age. According to police, the chain of event leading to April's death at their family home started after 8:00 P.M. Last night. April had come home with both boys from baseball practice. Doesn't appear they were home more than 10, 15 minutes when the shooting occurred. I heard pow, sounded look a gunshot. I am not familiar with the gunshot. I said maybe it wasn't. I heard, pow, pow, I felt uncomfortable and ran in the house. Reporter: April Jace was shot multiple times. According to TMZ, Jace confessed to the killing. Quote, I shot my wife. He report lead said. The website reported he called police staying on the phone with them as they drove off to the home. Jace stood in the door way as police arrived and arrested him in the early hours of Tuesday morning. His wife's body was found in a hallway in the home. Neighbors left stunned. I was shocked. I would never expect anything from him. Quiet guy. Very nice. Reporter: Possible dischord a focus for police. They're kidding maconsidering marital difficulties. Jace has been accused before, a close friend of his ex-wife claimed he physically assaulted her multiple times. Saying, Jace "Choked and slammed her against the wall." Jace denied the allegations stating, I vigorously dispute her recollections of events that happened at the time. They're clearly going to argue that that shows that it is a premeditated deliberate act. Police have no record of domestic violence incidents between Jace and his wife April. In fact according to court documents. April was a character witness during his custody battle. And Jace has no previous criminal record. Police also investigating financial difficulties as a possible motive. Court documents obtained by ABC news showed that Jace filed for bankruptcy in March 2011. Listing debts of over $500,000. But Jace had seen belttter days. A veteran character actor who appeared in small roles in some of the biggest movies like "Boogie nights." And him in "Forest gump" playing a black panther. Our purpose here is to protect our black leaders -- Reporter: Perhaps his biggest role, ironically as an LAPD officer, Julian low in the long running TV series "The shield." What she said? Jaces seemed to be a happy family. Married for ten years. Neighbors describe them as a loving family that seemed to have it all. Just a happy couple. All I ever saw of them. Reporter: To those who know him, Jace is a quiet man, enjoying sports. When he came into the center. He was quiet. Reporter: April Jace worked at a university, known for her sunny disposition. She was a loving member of this community. We are grieving deeply today. Reporter: Mark garagos said being a celebrity will not exonerate him. The celebrity doesn't necessarily help you in a case like this, generally there will be more attention paid to the case than there might be in a traditional domestic dispute that end up in a homicide. Reporter: Past history is spotty when it comes to actors on trial for humurder. Reporter: O.j. Simpson was acquitted of double-murder in 1995. Famed music producer, Phil specter was accused of killing a model in his mansion in 2003. After the first trial ended with a hung jury. The second ended with a guilty verdict landing him in prison for 19 years to life. Actor Robert Blake was acquitted of murder in the death of his wife, Bonnie lee bakely near a restaurant in studio city, California, in 2001. The difference between Blake and O.J. On one hand acquitted and this case at least if you believe what is being reported is that, it is not a who done it, it is a why? And the why will inform what and if he gets convicted. Reporter: Tonight, Michael Jace sits in jail, held on $1 million bail. And his children are without a mother and father. For children to either have witnessed or at least heard the shooting inside their home, now knowing their mom is deceased, and their father, you know, is probably responsible for the murder, it is just really unfortunate. Reporter: Ryan smith for "Nightline" in New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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