Police: Man kills father of girlfriend’s children during Christmas custody swap

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Man Accused of Killing Father of Girlfriend's Children During Christmas Custody Swap

An Alabama man shot and killed the father of his girlfriend’s children on Christmas Day, as the former couple met in a police department parking lot to hand off their children for the holiday.

Christopher Andrew Cochran, 29, of Hamilton, is charged with murder, according to Marion County Jail records. Cochran was booked Tuesday in connection with the fatal shooting, which took place in the Hamilton Police Department’s parking lot.

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ABC 33/40 in Birmingham reported Cochran accompanied his girlfriend shortly before 2 p.m. Tuesday afternoon as she went to the police department to collect the children, a boy and a girl, from their father. Police officials told the news station the boy got out of the car with his father, but the little girl stayed behind.

As the boy and his father met up with Cochran, an argument between the men ensued, the news station reported. Police officials said the children's mother stepped in between the men, but she was unable to prevent Cochran from pulling out a gun and shooting the man, whose name was being withheld Tuesday.

Both children saw their father’s slaying, the ABC affiliate reported. No one else was injured in the shooting.

Hamilton police Chief Ronnie Vickery told WBRC in Birmingham that many divorced couples use the police department's parking lot to drop off or pick up their children for visitation because it is considered a safe place.

No additional details were released Tuesday.

Hamilton is a small city located in northwest Alabama, about 100 miles from Birmingham. According to Cochran's Facebook page, he works as a manager at an auto parts store there.

His timeline includes several gun-related posts over the past few months, including a Dec. 12 post about a study on how California’s background checks impact, or fail to impact, gun deaths in the state.

His last post, made three days before the slaying, was about gift certificates to a gun shop as a last-minute Christmas gift idea.