A store security guard at Tysons Corner Center sexually assaulted and stabbed his former girlfriend in a jewelry store at the shopping center early yesterday before fatally shooting himself, Fairfax County police and store employees said.

Police said the 39-year-old woman -- an employee at a mall store -- was in serious but guarded condition at Inova Fairfax Hospital yesterday.

She was confronted by the 38-year-old McLean man about 1 a.m. in Lenkersdorfer, a jewelry and watch store. He sexually assaulted her at gunpoint and then stabbed her before she ran to seek help from a security officer and construction workers, police said.

They called police, and officers evacuated other workers -- including employees conducting inventory in various stores, mall security personnel and construction workers -- from the shopping center and searched for the gunman.

Police identified the man as Esdibar Rosero of the 1500 block of Lincoln Way. They said Rosero and the woman had a previous relationship. They did not identify the woman or where she worked.

Rosero's body was discovered about 4 a.m. Police said he went to the back of the store after the woman escaped and shot himself.

Yesterday, signs on the doors of Lenkersdorfer said that the store was closed but that it would reopen at 10 a.m. today. Store owner David Williams said he had been asked by Fairfax police not to comment on the incident.

But there were few other hints of the violent act at Tysons Corner, the largest mall in the Washington area and one of the largest in the country.

Several shoppers hurrying past the closed store said they knew nothing about it.

"Are you kidding?" said Candice Choe, 17, a high school student doing some after-school shopping with a friend, Katherine Gonzalez, also 17.

"That's shocking," Gonzalez said. It was not the kind of thing you would expect at an upscale mall like Tysons, she said, "not at all."

"Oh, my gosh," said Rachel Weisz, 29, an area office worker who was at the mall for some lunchtime browsing. "That's scary."

Masoud Tehrani, a salesman at the Tie Rack, across from Lenkersdorfer, said he watched as Rosero's body was removed about 9 a.m.

"They're going to lose a lot of business today being closed," Tehrani's boss, Sharareh Afshari, said as they watched a cleaning crew in the closed store scrub an area behind one of the jewelry counters.

In recent years, malls have increased security as violent crime has moved in. In 1996, a Fairfax County police officer shot and killed a bank robber as he sprinted out of Tysons Corner Center with $56,000 stolen from Riggs National Bank.

But mall spokesman Eric Kulczycky said this was the first incident of its kind at the mall in his memory.

"I can't recall another incident like this taking place," he said. "This is unfortunate."

Staff writer Tom Jackman contributed to this report.