Michael Pray, who joined the Drug Fair chain 10 years ago as a clerk and worked his way to store manager, died late Thursday hours after being shot while making a night deposit of the store's receipts in Arlington.

Pray, 32, of 8207 Aspen Glen Ct. in Alexandria was shot once in the abdomen about 12:30 a.m. Thursday as he was going to deposit the day's receipts from his store at 2901 S. Glebe Rd., police said. Police said the shooting occurred near the deposit window of a First Virginia Bank branch in the same block.

They said Pray dropped the deposit bag after he was shot and the robber fled without taking the money.

A spokesman at Washington Hospital Center said Pray died at 11:20 p.m.

Arlington police said such shootings are rare in the county and they had no suspect in Pray's death. Of 102 Arlington robberies between July 1, 1984, and June 30, 1985, in which a gun was used, shootings occurred only twice.

The last time a robbery victim died of gunshot wounds was in 1983, police said.

At the store yesterday, employes and customers seemed stunned by the news of Pray's death.

"I'm just too upset to talk about it," said Assistant Manager Michael Smith.

On the ledge of the manager's booth at the front of the store, a small sign read, "M. Pray, Mgr."

"Is it true, the rumors that the manager died?" one customer asked. "The guy who was always in the aisles at night? That nice guy?"

The cashier nodded soberly. "It's crazy," said the customer.

Drug Fair spokeswoman Sally Domm said company policy instructs employes not to make bank deposits unaccompanied or after dark. "We don't know what motivated him to be there at that time," Domm said. "We're obviously very sorry that he was."