Police in the US are searching for a man who they say shot a barber three times in a dispute over his 13-year-old son's haircut.

The shooting in Houston, Texas, began when the man complained to the barber that his son's haircut was done improperly, and then decided to go home, Harris County Sheriff’s Office Detective Wallace Wyatt told NBC affiliate KPRC in Houston.

But the man later returned to the shop and the barber agreed to fix it for free, authorities said.

They added that an altercation then took place shortly before 5pm.

Speaking to local media, Detective Wallace Wyatt of Harris County Sheriff's Office said the murder was "horrible".

"I mean you shoot somebody in front of your 13-year-old son for a bad haircut.

"You can't get any worse than that."

Detective Wallace Wyatt of Harris County Sheriff's Office said the murder was Credit: AP

The alleged shooter, described as a black male, left the barbershop in a grey, four-door sedan, according to the sheriff's office.

The employee was shot three times and was in stable condition at an area hospital, KPRC-TV reported.

The sheriff's office did not immediately respond to requests for information from the Associated Press.