Most of us have seen it happen before; a custody dispute can become hateful and violent. Quickly. In this case, that situation went just about as badly as it could have without any physical harm to the children.

During a planned custody exchange at the police department in Whittier (outside L.A.), the father became aggressive, forcing the mother into the vehicle and abducting her at knifepoint. Both the 4-year-old and 7-year-old children were already in the car. The father drove a short distance before they stopped to argue. The mother escaped the car and ran frantically to a neighbor’s house, where she was let inside. Presumably, the police were on their way.

“She just said he was going to kill her,” a witness told NBC LA.

The father held their 7-year-old daughter hostage, gradually becoming more and more belligerent. The neighbor tried to talk the father down, at which point “hostage” became “hostage at knifepoint.”

At that point, the man failed to calm down and decided to pull out a knife and hold it to his child’s throat.

That’s when police shot him. The father was airlifted to the hospital and pronounced dead shortly after.