A 17-year-old Southeast Washington youth remained in intensive care yesterday after he was shot five times while on a short trip from his home to a nearby convenience store.

Anthony Lamont Jones received gunshot wounds in his leg, head and chest, police said. He was standing in a parking lot in front of a convenience store and coin-operated laundry in the 5000 block of Benning Road SE late Wednesday night when a gunman ambushed him.

Jones' condition at D.C. General Hospital initially was classified as critical, but yesterday it was upgraded to fair. His family and friends visited him and later, while his mother rested, some of his friends talked about what happened.

"He was going to the store for his mother," said Darryl Massey, 19, who described himself as a close friend who had been staying with Jones and his mother, Sharlene Brooks, in their Benning Heights apartment.

"He was buying some cigarettes and he stopped and talked to this girl and he said a guy just ran up behind him. He said he didn't see who did it. The first shot was in the back of his head and he said he felt dizzy and he just fainted."

Jones fell to the ground and the gunman shot him four more times, witnesses said. Police said they do not have a motive in the case, but they are investigating tips.

Jones' friends said they had no idea who would try to kill him or why. "He was popular in this neighborhood," said Bernard Franklin, 16, another friend.

Massey said he and Jones were cooking hamburgers and watching television Wednesday evening. Shortly before 11 p.m., Jones went around the corner to a 24-hour convenience store. About 15 minutes later, someone called with the news that he had been shot.

When Brooks, Massey and others ran to his side, "he was lying there with his eyes open. He said, 'Where's the ambulance?'" Massey said.

Jones' mother, he said, is "taking it well, but it's hurting her. It took a lot out of her to see him lying on the ground like that last night."