Cleveland shooting

Derrice Alexander, 23, was formally charged with aggravated murder in the death of his 2-year-old son. (Cleveland Police Department / June 11, 2014)

A 23-year-old Cleveland man was formally charged with aggravated murder after police say he shot and killed his 2-year-old son during a domestic dispute Tuesday night.

Derrice Alexander was involved in a "physical and verbal" altercation with the boy's mother outside their home when he drew a handgun and opened fire into a window, the Cleveland Police Department said.

The victim, Derrice Alexander Jr., was standing on a staircase inside and was struck in the head by a single shot, a police spokesman told The Times. Derrice Alexander handed his son to another relative and fled the area, police said. 

The boy was taken to Lutheran Hospital, where he died, police said.

Alexander discarded the weapon, police said, and was later spotted at the Garret Morgan Water Treatment Plant and detained by a public works police officer.

During a news conference Wednesday, Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said Alexander had a felony conviction and should not have had access to a weapon.

“In this case, the individual that according to our investigation ... committed this offense has a felony conviction and should not have been in possession of a weapon, and this is something that we see time and time again," he said.

Alexander pleaded guilty to assault in either 2010 or 2011, said Sgt. Ali Pillow, a police spokesman.

According to Ohio Department of Corrections records, Alexander assaulted a man in Cuyahoga County and was sent to state prison in 2011. He was released in June 2012, after serving nearly a year in jail, records show.

Alexander is scheduled to appear in court Thursday, a police spokesman said. Williams said the suspect had been cooperating with police.

"I'm sure that he's thinking about what happened early this morning and wants to take it back," he said.

The chief also urged Cleveland residents to call police if they believed their neighbors were involved in criminal activity.

"We allow this thing to happen and happen and happen," he said. "We basically empower those bad people out there who continue to victimize our community, and we can't do that."

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