The incident happened shortly before 9 p.m. Sunday on the 1400 block of South La Cienega Boulevard near Alcott Street at Smoke 'N' Gifts.
Authorities said two men tried to rob the store, armed with a gun. The store owner had his own gun and fired at the intruders. The owner told police that he feared for his life.
Daniel Neal lives five houses down from the shop and says he heard the shots ring out.
"I thought it was fireworks, but they rang out quite a bit," Neal said. "I go there myself sometimes, so I know the guys. So, I came down this morning to see if they're OK, but seems like they're busy fixing their window. Looks like their car has a flat tire too, so I think maybe he shot his car."
According to police, both men were taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where one of them died. The other man was listed in critical condition with a gunshot wound to the head.
It remained unclear whether the robbers fired any shots in the incident.
The owner was taken away by police after the shooting and questioned. He was later released and has not been arrested. He didn't appear to suffer any injuries.
Employees of nearby businesses came into work Monday morning and were shocked at the news.
Maria Flores de Leon, who works above the smoke shop, said the area is usually quiet.
"I'm just glad they came out of it OK and stuck up for themselves," said Neal.
The shooting was under investigation.