Police kill man who took woman, children hostage in southern California home
Policeman with gun (Shutterstock)

A man who took a woman and her two young children hostage in their southern California home was shot dead by police after apparently shooting the woman, who later died, police said on Wednesday.

Deputies responded to a call from the woman's husband on Wednesday afternoon, who said a cousin was inside their house in Highland, California, and threatening to shoot her and her children, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said in a statement.

Officers found the suspect barricaded in the home armed with a shotgun, and attempted to negotiate with him as he threatened the three hostages and deputies, police said.

At some point during the standoff, police fatally shot the man. Further details on the shooting were not provided by the department.

Officers entered the back of the home and found the woman hostage suffering from what appeared to be a shotgun wound. She was pronounced dead at a local hospital, police said.

The two children were uninjured and were later reunited with their father, police said.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department is investigating the incident.

Highland is a city of some 53,000 about 66 miles (106 km) east of Los Angeles.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Larry King)