PLANT CITY — The kids watched their dad hold a knife to their mother's side. Then he punched her in the back, deputies said.
That's when the three young children, all around preschool age, tried to stop him, said Hillsborough Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Debbie Carter.
It happened Saturday night. Deputies said Jose Oliva, 25, of Plant City, attacked his girlfriend during an argument, injuring the couple's three young children when they tried to intervene.
The woman had been washing dishes when Oliva approached her with the pocketknife, Carter said. He took her phone away and threatened to take the children to Mexico if she ever left him, an arrest affidavit states.
When Oliva fell asleep, the woman took the children, ran away from the home and called the Sheriff's Office. The kids suffered bumps and bruises, the affidavit states.
Deputies arrested Oliva without incident Sunday afternoon.
He was being held in the Hillsborough County Jail on charges of domestic violence battery by strangulation, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, child abuse and tampering with a witness, with bail set at $57,500.