The manager of a seafood restaurant who was carrying receipts across the street to a bank was shot and robbed yesterday afternoon in full view of lunch-hour crowds walking along Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Bethesda.

Richard Edwards of Silver Spring was shot at 1:20 p.m. in the 7900 block of Wisconsin, 40 feet from Bish Thompson's seafood restaurant where he has worked as the manager for six years.

Edwards was taken to Suburban Hospital where he is listed in critical condition in the intensive care unit. Hospital officials went to Montgomery County Circuit Court yesterday afternoon and obtained permission for blood transfusions because Edwards, according to Bill Thompson, the restaurant' owner, is a Jehovah's Witness.

Edwards, 32, was carrying a gray canvas bag with the restaurant's Sunday receipts, headed for the First American Bank on the west side of the divided six-lane avenue that cuts through downtown Bethesda.

He stopped to hand a mailman a letter in front of the Metropolitan Federal Savings Bank next to Bish Thompson's, then started across toward First American.

According to police and witnesses, as soon as Edwards stepped into the road a man ran out from the side of the bank, grabbed him around the neck from behind, and fired once into his abdomen. No words were exchanged, according to police.

The assailant, who police said was wearing light green Army fatigues and a green cap, grabbed the cash bag and fled toward a car parked at the rear of the Metropolitan Federal Savings bank. As Edwards sank to the street next to a green pickup truck, he drew a .25-caliber revolver and fired several shots.

"I heard about four or five shots, pow pow pow pow," said Wallace L. Davis, vice president of the Metropolitan Federal Savings Bank. "Everybody in the bank dropped to the floor when they heard the shots."

When Davis ran out of the bank he found a police car pulling up to the curb, a traffic jam forming, and Edwards, in jeans and a leather coat, lying face down in the first lane of Wisconsin Avenue. There were a dozen witnesses.

"I walked out and looked at him. He looked like he was in pain and ready to get sick. Somebody rolled him over and he said, 'Oh oh oh . . .'" David said.

Detectives found blood between the restaurant and the Metropolitan Federal bank and bullet holes in the truck. Police spokesman Nancy Moses said, "There is a possibility that the thief has been shot."

Thompson said over a two-year period the restaurant had been held up 13 times and that at the recommendation of the police some of his employes now carry guns when making bank deposits.