Updated 5:15 p.m., April 16, 2015

A Clairemont man who stopped by a neighborhood convenience store early Thursday to get a light for a cigarette was gunned down by a masked robber when he failed to promptly heed the thief’s command to lie down, authorities reported.

The 48-year-old victim, a regular customer at the business, was chatting with a clerk at the Arco am/pm in the 6100 block of Balboa Avenue about 3:45 a.m. when the bandit entered and ordered them both to get down onto the floor, according to San Diego police.

The victims did not immediately comply, and the robber, who was wearing a bandana over the lower part of his face, proceeded to demand money, homicide Lt. Paul Rorrison told reporters. The employee then put cash onto the sales counter and ducked down behind it.

At that point, the worker heard the thief say, “I told you to get down,” followed by a gunshot, Rorrison said. The assailant ran out of the store, and the clerk got up to find the customer on the floor, suffering from a bullet wound to the chest.

Medics took the wounded man to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. His name was withheld pending family notification.

In an alley near the store, officers found money and clothing believed to have been discarded by the killer, the lieutenant said.

Surveillance cameras captured images of the robber, who appeared to be a black man in his 20s. He was clad in dark jeans, a blue hooded sweat shirt and red sneakers with white shoelaces.

Anyone who might be able to help police identify the shooter was asked to call San Diego County Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477. Tipsters may remain anonymous and could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

— City News Service

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.