A sleeping 8-year-old boy suffered a gunshot wound to the head when a hooded gunman arguing with the boy's father opened fire inside a Los Angeles home, police said Monday.

The gunfire erupted shortly before midnight Sunday as the father tried to disarm the suspect, who had walked into the house through open front doors, Officer Liliana Preciado said. The boy was in an adjacent room behind a partial wall, and it's not clear whether the bullet pierced the wall or hit the boy directly. The child was in critical but stable condition.

The shooter fled after firing at least 10 shots, none of which hit the father despite his being only about 5 feet away, police said.

The gunman was not familiar to the family, and investigators were looking for anyone who may have seen him coming or going from the house or may have a description of his vehicle, Capt. Nicole Alberta Carranza said at a Monday afternoon news conference.

Shootings are rare in the residential Del Rey neighborhood near Venice Beach. The family had left the front door unlocked because they were expecting another relative to come home, police said.

No other family members were injured. The young victim's 17-year-old brother also was in the bedroom at the time of the shooting. The victim's mother and grandmother were in another room.

Police withheld the names of the family members but released a photo of the boy, who is shown smiling with long, wavy, golden-brown hair down to his shoulders.

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Associated Press writer Robert Jablon contributed to this report.