A 10-year-old boy who may have been trying to protect his mother during a domestic dispute allegedly stabbed and killed his father with a kitchen knife at the family's home early Friday morning.

Officers were called to an apartment complex by a neighbor of the family shortly after 1 a.m., police spokesman Tom Walsh said. Officers found the man's body.

A neighbor, Daniel Kline, said he came upon the injured man in a hallway of the complex.

"I was standing over him like this and he was like, dude, he said, man, can you please help me? I was like, man, you can just sit there, man. I said, they're coming. The police, the ambulance, they're coming. I said you can just sit there 'cause your bleeding too bad, man."

According to witnesses, the boy was in the apartment in the 1800 block of East Seventh Street with two siblings and tried to defend his mother from his father, who was drunk and threatening his family with a pipe.

Walsh declined to confirm that or provide other details and said police were trying to determine the motive.

"Was this an intentional homicide? Was this an act of self-defense or protection of another? All of those aspects will be looked at," he said.

The father and son weren't immediately identified, and the boy was released to the custody of relatives.