At 3 p.m., when the Sunshine Country Market caters primarily to the after-school sweet tooth or a homemaker who forgot a key ingredient, a drama played out Wednesday that left one man dead, another man in hiding and a third man too scared to talk about it.

Two gun-toting customers came into the shop in the 1400 block of D Street in Northeast Washington and held the shopkeeper's wife at gunpoint, demanding cash, police said.

The owner, Adam Oliphant, came downstairs when he heard the commotion and saw the gun pointed at his wife's head, said Officer Kervin Johnson, a D.C. police spokesman.

The grocer drew his own gun, and when the two attackers saw the weapon, they turned to run, Johnson said, and Oliphant shot one of them in the back.

That man, who is unidentified, died almost two hours later at D.C. General Hospital of a gunshot wound, hospital spokesman Leo Alexander said.

The dead man's partner got away, and police are still looking for him, officials said.

The market was back open for business yesterday, and as the afternoon drew near, the shopkeeper's wife maintained her post behind the counter. Her wide eyes darted about the store every time a customer entered.

The couple said they wanted to keep their version of the story to themselves for awhile. The second gunman is unidentified and is apparently in hiding, and that's one reason Adam Oliphant said he was wary.

Police said that the shooting is under investigation and that they have not decided whether the grocer will face charges for shooting a fleeing attacker.