A young man shot to death on a D.C street early Sunday apparently was the target of a robber who wanted his $200 Nike sneakers, police said.

David Lee Robinson, 19, clad in a pair of white Nike Zoom Rookies, was standing in the 5800 block of Foote Street NE shortly before 2:30 a.m. when at least one robber with a handgun got out of a sport-utility vehicle, police said.

“It would appear that he was shot probably after he was robbed, but it’s also possible that he got shot prior to being robbed,” a D.C. police homicide supervisor, Lt. Robert Alder, said Monday.

Also unclear is who else fired shots. Investigators found a handgun — apparently not the murder weapon — and an assortment of spent shells at the scene, Alder said.

Robinson was with an acquaintance when the shooting occurred near Foote and 58th streets at the far eastern tip of the city near the border with Prince George’s County, Alder said. The other person escaped harm.

Alder said detectives haven’t determined whether Robinson or someone with him fired at the robber, who appeared to be accompanied by three or four other people in the SUV.

“We’re still investigating the sequence,” he said.

Alder said detectives have found no indication that Robinson and his assailant were acquainted or that Robinson, who lived in Northwest Washington, was robbed of anything other than the high-top sneakers.

“At this point, we’re not ruling anything out, but we don’t have any information that suggests this was not a stranger-on-stranger robbery,” Alder said.

Robinson was pronounced dead at Howard University Hospital. Hours later, at a previously scheduled church vigil against gun violence Sunday night, Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) called the shooting “not only tragic” but “incredibly disquieting.”

“A life for a pair of Nike tennis shoes?” the mayor said. “Come on, ladies and gentlemen. It’s time for us to be able to end this kind of tragic violence in our society.”

Alder said police have only a vague description of the robber and are looking for a small, silver or gray four-door SUV.

“We believe the vehicle would have some bullet holes in it and possibly some broken glass,” he said.

District police have reported three homicides so far in 2012.