A security guard at a McDonald's restaurant in Northeast was killed last night when a holdup man fired a sawed-off shotgun into his face at close range, police reported.

Police reached the restaurant at 4301 Nannie Helen Burroughs Ave. within seconds of the 11:30 p.m. incident, and, after a brief high-speed chase, stopped the robbers' getaway car atChaplin and D streets SE, about 20 blocks away. Three suspects were arrested without incident, and a sawed-off shotgun and an undetermined amount of money recovered, police said.

The identity of the dead guard, said to be about 35, was being withheld early today pending notification of next of kin. He was pronounced dead on the scene. Police said he was an employe of Sting Security, located at 2700 Virginia Ave. NW.

Details of the robbery and shooting were sketchy, but investigators said two armed men burst into the restaurant when the guard was apparently obscured from view behind the service counter while an accomplice waited outside in a car.

After the gunmen ordered several customers and employes to lie on the floor, one of them began grabbing money from cash drawers while the second went behind the counter into the food preparation area. There he encountered the guard and fired the shotgun blast into his face.

It was not immediately clear whether the guard attempted in any way to interfere with the gunman. The guard was armed with a revolver, police said, but never took it from its holster. There were no other injuries in the incident, police said.

The three suspects remained unidentified as of early today.