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Border & Immigration

CBP Officer Allegedly Shot, Killed Boyfriend In Self-Defense

Police respond to a 911 call in the Otay Ranch area, Oct. 17, 2015.
Police respond to a 911 call in the Otay Ranch area, Oct. 17, 2015.

A 30-year-old U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer who allegedly shot and killed her boyfriend in self-defense in their Otay Ranch-area apartment was behind bars Monday on suspicion of first degree murder.

Melissa Hayes-Spencer called 911 from the residence on Santa Rita near Palomar Street in Chula Vista around 8:45 a.m Saturday and told authorities she had shot her boyfriend as he was battering her, and that she needed medical assistance, according to Chula Vista police. The couple had moved into the apartment just over a month ago.

Officers arrived to find the 30-year-old victim lying on the bedroom floor suffering from a gunshot wound to his chest, and Hayes-Spencer attempting to revive him, Chula Vista Police Department Lt. Fritz Reber said in a statement. Police and paramedics took over trying to resuscitate the man, but he died at the scene at about 9:15 that morning. His name has yet to be made public.


A handgun was found in the bedroom. Reber said the couple's dog was in the apartment at the time, but was apparently uninjured and turned over to family members.

Hayes-Spencer was treated at the scene for an injury to her hand before voluntarily heading to the Chula Vista Police Department for questioning, according to the lieutenant. Investigators also coordinated with their counterparts from Customs and Border Protection, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Office of Professional Responsibility and the county District Attorney's Office.

Reber said detectives were looking into whether there have been past domestic violence incidents or disturbances involving the couple — reported or unreported.

Hayes-Spencer was booked into the Las Colinas Detention and Reentry Facility on suspicion of first degree murder Saturday night. An arraignment is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to jail records.