A man fatally shot his 2-year-old son in the head when he fired into the window of a home during a dispute with the child's mother, Cleveland police said Tuesday.

Police said the boy was standing on a landing when he was struck early Tuesday and was taken to a hospital, where he died. The Cuyahoga County medical examiner's office identified the child as Derrice Alexander Jr., of Cleveland.

Police said his father fled the scene and was later arrested but wasn't immediately charged, so they declined to confirm his name during an afternoon news conference.

Police Chief Calvin Williams said the man is a convicted felon and should not have had the weapon, which investigators allege he dumped in a garbage can before fleeing. Williams declined to give details about the suspect's criminal record.

He said the shooting was a tragedy that might have been prevented if someone who knew about the weapon had called police.

"We have to change the culture one person at a time, one incident at a time," Williams said. "I mean, in this case, I don't think anybody would see themselves as a snitch if they could have prevented this."

Police are trying to determine where the man got the gun. Homicide investigators indicated he was cooperative, Williams said.