The incident happened shortly after 11 p.m. Saturday in the 2600 block of South Towner Street, a residential neighborhood.
Police say the boy's father was looking for a parking spot, when he noticed a car following behind. The car went around them, and that's when someone inside opened fire on the family's car.
"The father said the other vehicle pulled up beside them, rolled down their windows and opened fire, shooting the little boy in the leg," said Santa Ana police Cmdr. Eric Paulson.
The boy, who was riding in the rear passenger seat, was shot in the leg and transported to Coastal Communities Hospital for treatment. He is expected to make a full recovery. The father and a family friend, who was a passenger in the car, were not injured.
The victims told police they believe two Hispanic men were in the car, which they described as a compact SUV with a spare tire mounted on the rear. They were unclear on the color of the vehicle.
Police have not released a motive but do not believe the violence was gang-related.
If you have any information about this shooting, you're urged to contact the Santa Ana Police Department at (714) 245-8701.