A 10-month old baby boy died in his father's arms after being shot by three men outside their Houston apartment complex on Wednesday afternoon (14 June).

The father who was taking Messiah Justice Marshall out for a walk at around 1.30pm local time (7.30pm BST) was approached by the three men, who are said to be in their early twenties.

Police say that the three had an argument with the father and one of the suspects fired repeatedly at him. As the father ran, the baby was hit.

The boy's father tried to escape and ran up to the driver of a car nearby. The driver drove them to a nearby gas station. The father kept yelling, "Call an ambulance! Call 911!" Police and paramedics arrived at the gas station and the boy was declared dead at the scene.

"He was just at the beginning of his journey and his journey was cut short by cowards, who have absolutely no respect for the sanctity of life, by cowards that crossed a line. You don't shoot at a man carrying his 10-month old son," Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said in a press conference on Thursday.

The driver, Joshua Levy, told the Houston Chronicle newspaper, "I saw [the father] walking around with the baby — basically dead in his arms."

Acevedo has asked the residents of the Nob Hill Apartments complex to come forward with any information they have.

"There are people in that complex that saw what happened," Acevedo said. "There are people that are gonna watch this press conference that know what happened. There are people that know who these cowards are, and I'm calling on you."

He said that police are investigating the matter and efforts are on to find the suspects. "We're not going to rest until we bring these people into custody," he added.

Messiah is not the first child to die in a Houston-area shooting. On Tuesday, a 14-year-old boy died a day after he was accidentally shot in the head by his twin brother. The brother was aiming at a snake they had found in a ditch.

In March, an eight-year-old girl was shot dead in a car when her mother was driving it. The car was said to be involved in a traffic accident. Houston police arrested a man on suspicion of the shooting.