BALTIMORE (WJZ) — An investigation is underway after police shot and killed a man in West Baltimore. Police say he was barricaded in a bedroom, holding two toddlers at knifepoint.

The ages of the two kids involved here — just four and one years old — make this story all the more disturbing. Police are working to determine why this all happened and whether the man was on drugs.

It’s described as a drug-fueled SWAT situation playing out on North Fulton Avenue Friday morning.

A 39-year-old man barricades himself in a bedroom holding two young children at the point of a butcher’s knife.

Just one and four years old — police say, in imminent danger.

When officers arrived and were making commands for him to drop the knife, he was making threats toward the children.

SWAT teams and negotiators called in to say the man refused to drop the knife — and they had no choice but to shoot.

A SWAT officer firing one time, killing the man, but saving the two toddlers.

“This was not a scenario where less lethal was an option because if it didn’t’ go right, we could be standing here talking about an injured or deceased four or one-year-old,” says Baltimore City Police Spokesman T.J. Smith.

Police tell WJZ the man involved was not the children’s father, but rather a homeless relative who had been allowed to spend the night.

The family believes the man had taken drugs.

Neighbors watched Friday afternoon as police continued to investigate. Thankful innocent children were unharmed.

“Our duty, our responsibility as police officers is to preserve life. And we had a one-year-old and a four-year-old who were involved in a volatile situation, actively,” says Smith.

The name of the man shot this morning hasn’t been released. Those two children are backed with loved ones tonight are physically ok.

Police say multiple body cameras recorded video of the incident.

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Devin Bartolotta

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