A 38-year-old man has been arrested after allegedly shooting a Houston man to death, then stealing his car with a toddler inside and leaving the child to die.

The suspect faces murder and tampering with evidence charges, according to Houston police, and his identity will be revealed when those charges are filed.

Police received a call about a shooting near the corner of El Camino Del Rey Street and Chimney Rock Road in west Houston at 1:46pm on Tuesday.

When they arrived at the scene they found a 38-year-old man shot to death.

Then around 6:30pm that evening a woman called police to say her husband and two-year-old son were missing, and investigators realized her husband was the shooting victim from earlier.

'We never knew about the child until she called,' Houston Police Executive Assistant Chief Larry Satterwhite told reporters.

After a search police found the missing car over 10 miles from the scene of the shooting and saw the boy was locked inside.

Officers broke the windows open and began to perform CPR on the child, then called an ambulance.

'Sadly, it was too late. The child had passed in the car,' Satterwhite said. 'At this time, we don't know why or how or what the cause of death will be. It could be something like heat exhaustion, we just don't know.

'That will be determined later through autopsy. 'It's the hardest thing we do,' he said. 'Children are innocent.'

Satterwhite said it is believed the carjacker left the car where it was found and locked it up with the child inside.

He said police believed the victim had been meeting with the suspect when an argument broke out between them.

They said the suspect may have pulled out a gun, then shot the victim multiple times before making off with the car.

Surveillance footage of the suspect showed a black man wearing black shorts, a white t-shirt, and an Oakland Raiders baseball-cap walking around a convenience store. 

Daily Mail