SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) _ A father waiting to pick up his daughter and her half-brother at elementary school was shot to death in his van while parents and children watched in horror.

The alleged gunman, who is the boy's father and was involved in a custody dispute with the man who was killed, was arrested hours later after holding three people hostage in their home Thursday.

``This guy got out and opened the door, and as he did, he pulled a gun out,'' said a 13-year-old boy. ``I didn't even think to move. Then he shot him four times _ pop, pop, pop _ and I jumped behind a car.''

The alleged gunman, Jess Perry West, 39, was being held in Sacramento County jail on a parole violation and for investigation of murder, sheriff's spokesman Jim Cooper said. West was paroled in January after serving half of a 12-year term for false imprisonment.

The victim, Michael Logsdon, 49, once lived with West's estranged girlfriend. Sheila Suhr had two children by Logsdon and one by West.

Logsdon's 4-year-old daughter and his new girlfriend were with him in his van when he was killed. They were not hurt. Logsdon was at school to pick up his 6-year-old daughter and West's 8-year-old son.

``It's a big messy custody dispute involving children Suhr had by Logsdon and West,'' Cooper said Friday.

After opening fire into the van, the gunman fled. Witnesses said West fired six shots before entering a house and holding the occupants hostage. Nobody was hurt and he ultimately surrendered to authorities.