A 20-year-old Washington man who was killed in an exchange of shots with a pawnshop clerk during a robbery attempt Thursday had been scheduled for trail in D.C. Superior Court that day on robbery charges, D.C. police said.

Police records show that the man, identified as Edward B. Ellis, of 3800 14th St. NW, had been indicated on four counts of robbery, and one count of assault with a dangerous weapon.

Ellis had also been free on personal recognizance while awaiting the trail, which had been postponed seven times, according to the records.

Investigators said additionally that Ellis was considered a suspect in 21 holups of taxicab drivers. The investigators said that the robber used a similar method of operation in each of the taxi holdups and that Ellis' photograph had been identified by victims or witnesses.

It could not be determined immediately why Ellis did not appear for trail on Thursday morning.

He was shot to death about 3:30 p.m. in the Reliable Pawnbrokers Office, 919 F St. NW, police said.

According to investigators, a man entered the store and asked to see some rings. As Ruby Poritzky, 48, a clerk, was getting the rings, the man drew a gun, handed Poritzky a paper bag and demanded money, police said.

As if reaching for the money, the clerk bent below the counter for a handgun kept there. Before he could raise the weapon, police said, the robber fired a shot from his own gun, missing Poritzky.Poritzky returned the fire, according to investigators, and the would-be robber, hit several times, staggered towards the door.

Police found Ellis' body about two feet inside the door. After an autopsy yesterday, Deputy D.C. Medical Examiner Leroy Riddick said death w as caused by "multiple" gunshot wounds to the arms and chest.