A 56-year-old Northeast man, who argued with two young men who were robbing some of the customers of a crowded Chinese restaurant Friday night, was shot in the chest and fatally wounded by one of the men, District of Columbia police reported.

Police said Robert L. Morris, of 1156 3d St. NE, was shot at the Foo Chow Restaurant, 414 H St. NE. by one of the two men who was armed with a handgun at about 11:30 p.m.

Yeung Nung Chiung, manager of the restaurant, said yesterday that the two young men who were invloved in the shooting had been in the restaurant for an hour drinking beer.

He said the young men then became noisy,asking other persons in the busy restaurant to buy them beers, and finally demanding that a few customers put their wallets and other valuables on a table.

Chiung said customers who saw the shooting said Morris began berating the young men while they were robbing the customers. He said one of the young men then drew a small handgun and shot Morris in the chest before fleeing.

Saul Bailey, one of Morris' neighbors said Moris was a friendly man who occasionally spent evenings with neighbors on one of the porches along 3d Street.

"We're from the same home state, North Carolina," said Bailey. "He didn't hang around no place too much. He liked to go rising in the car, though."

Bailey said Morris had a job at the Pentagon but he did not know what kind of job it was.

"He didn't like nothing like that (robbing people)," Bailey said. "From what I hear, he said the wrong thing, trying to stop it, you know and they shot him. It's shocking."