A man was fatally shot early yesterday and a friend was wounded in an apparent robbery in the lobby of an apartment building in Northwest Washington.

The two men had just entered the building in the 2800 block of 15th Street NW in Columbia Heights about 3 a.m. when they were accosted by a man during what police said they think was a robbery.

In the confrontation, the younger victim, Cervando Hernandez, 22, was shot dead, D.C. police Lt. Robert Glover said. The other man, who is 25, was shot in the chest and taken to a hospital, where he was in stable condition, Glover said.

"They had just returned from having dinner and were standing together," Glover said.

A security camera captured some or all of the incident, Glover said, and police plan to release a clip of the recording in an effort to identify the assailant.

The shooter was wearing blue jeans and a black T-shirt with white lettering that read, "I do all my own stunts," Glover said.

Hernandez, who lived in the building with two cousins, had come to the United States about a year ago from Mexico and was working as a plumber, one of his cousins, Marcos Villa, said.

"He came for the same thing like everybody -- to make some money and go back," said Villa, also a plumber.

Since settling in Columbia Heights, Hernandez had grown wary of robbers who appeared to target the Spanish-speaking residents of the neighborhood, Villa said. But never did he imagine that such a robbery could turn deadly. "I don't know why this happened," Villa said. "I don't know how this could happen."

Police ask anyone with information to call 202-727-9099.