Police taped off the area near Cerritos Mini Market at the intersection of 7th Street and Cerritos Avenue after receiving the 911 call around 7:50 p.m. Monday. About 20 police cars responded to the scene.
"Originally, it was an unknown trouble call. When officers arrived, they determined that a robbery had occurred and an employee had been shot," said Long Beach Police spokeswoman Marlene Arrona.
The inside of the store showed signs of a violent struggle; merchandise was strewn all over the floor. The clerk was found suffering from a gunshot wound to the upper torso and transported to a local hospital. He remained in critical condition on Tuesday.
Neighborhood watch captain Nathan Deluca says the victim was the owner of the store, a well-known man who reportedly owns several stores in the community.
"For this to happen to somebody, you couldn't have picked a worse person, he was always good," said Deluca. "And for this to happen to him and on top of it in a neighborhood that's in a changing period like this, it's just horrible."
A description of the suspect was not immediately available. It was unclear if the gunman acted alone.
"I don't have any specifics on the number of suspects or description at this time; however, officers did work throughout the night gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses. Hopefully they can have something available later today," said Arrona.
The investigation was ongoing. Anyone with information related to the case was asked to call the Long Beach Police Department at (562) 435-6711.