HOUSTON -

A Houston police officer Wednesday shot and killed a man who was threatening to hurt his son with a large butcher knife, according to authorities.

Police said the father was trying to light what appeared to be a crack pipe at the time.

It happened at the Woodchase apartment complex on South Gessner near Westheimer about 6 p.m. Police said neighbors dialed 911 when they heard a woman screaming inside an apartment.

A man and woman were arguing in the apartment when officers arrived, police said. After police entered the unit, the woman dropped a 1-year-old boy and ran outside, according to investigators.

Police said that's when the father picked up his son and threatened to stab the child with a large butcher knife. Officers said they spent several minutes trying to coax the man into releasing his son, at which time they could see him trying to light a crack pipe.

The SWAT team was called to the crime scene. As officers awaited the arrival of hostage negotiators, the man retreated to a bathroom and tried to close the door, police said.

"They can see him at that point put the knife to the baby's throat and that's when the officers weren't taking any chances on that baby's life and decided to discharge their weapons. One officer discharged a weapon," said HPD spokesman John Cannon. "Suspect was dead at the scene."

Authorities said the child was not hurt. The baby's mother was seen tending to her son while answering questions from homicide detectives.

Police said it is still unclear what relationship the child's father had with the woman he was seen arguing with when officers arrived.

The man's identity has not yet been released. Police said the officer who fired the shot is J. Fisher, a 10-year veteran of the force assigned to the Midwest Patrol Division.