An employe of a Northwest Washington pawnshop was shot in the back with a shotgun and fatally wounded yesterday afternoon during an armed robbery at the store, D.C. police reported.

Steven Reynolds, 32, an employe of Weinstein's Pawnbrokers at 313 H St. NW, was shot once in the back from close range during the 2 p.m. holdup, police said. He was taken by D.C. fire department ambulance to the Washington Hospital Center, where he died about an hour later, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

Reynolds' address was listed by police as 27 Adams St. NW.

Police said the robbery occurred when two men, one armed with a shotgun, entered the store near the intersection of H Street and Massachusetts Avenue NW and announced a holdup.

As "quite a few" customers stood by, police said, the robbers told store employes to get down on the floor. Police said that "everybody was cooperating" when for an unknown reason Reynolds, who was standing behind a glass display case that runs the length of the shop, was shot in the back.

The robbers smashed the glass of a display case, gathered up some of the items and fled, police said.

Witnesses told police that the robbers, who police said are suspects in other Washington area holdups, ran from the store to a waiting car that may have been driven by a woman and escaped.