CHICAGO (CBS) — The owner of a small grocery in the South Side’s Park Manor neighborhood was in critical condition Thursday morning, after a robbery attempt at the store.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Berner reports, neighbors and customers are stunned.

The 71st Street Meat Market, at the southwest corner of 71st Street and Rhodes Avenue, was held up around 6:50 p.m. Wednesday. The robber shot a 53-year-old employee of the store, whom neighbors knew only as Chris.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Berner reports

Customers said Chris and a brother owned the store, and that they were from the Middle East.

Neighbors said Chris would tell customers not to worry if they didn’t have enough money, and would even throw in an extra item or two for free.

“It would be something to stick to your stomach — enough to make your kids full,” regular customer Nikki Scott, 35, told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Chris would greet customers, smile and sometimes even do a little dance, regulars at the store said.

But on Wednesday night, residents were staring as authorities wrapped yellow police tape around the perimeter of the market.

Meanwhile, the 53-year-old grocer was left with wounds to the face and abdomen, and was listed in critical condition at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, police said.

Police continue to search for the gunman in the case.

The Chicago Sun-Times contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire.

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