Police investigate a shooting Wednesday outside a shoe store on Minnesota Avenue NE in D.C. (Leah Binkovitz/The Washington Post)

Four people were shot and wounded Wednesday afternoon outside a shoe store on a busy stretch of Minnesota Avenue NE, D.C. police said.

Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said a lone gunman approached the group about 1:15 p.m. outside a Payless shoe store and opened fire. She said three men and a woman were struck. Two of the victims were seriously wounded, she said.

Lanier did not immediately comment on a possible motive. She said police were questioning several people and had one “person of interest” in custody.

After the shooting, police cordoned off a portion of Minnesota Avenue with crime scene tape and residents gathered nearby. The normally busy retail thoroughfare has a McDonald’s, a seafood restaurant, a gas station, a bank and a Unity Health Care center.

Jay Dailey said he was on his way up Minnesota Avenue to the bank when he heard something that sounded like firecrackers.

“I heard three shots — pop, pop, pop,” he said.

Dailey, 81, said he turned to look and saw a couple of people running. He continued on to the bank to make his deposit and then went to McDonald’s for a coffee.

Standing in front of the gas station just past Clay Place and Minnesota Avenue, another man told a friend on the phone about the scene unfolding.

The man, who did not want to give his name, because he said he did not know who might have been involved in the shooting, said the corner has a reputation for violence.

“The thing about it is people have no fear,” he said. He said his cousin’s friend was shot and killed last year in front of the McDonald’s.