Hawthorne police are seeking help from the public in identifying a man who shot and wounded a store owner during a robbery.

Officers responded around 5:14 p.m. Wednesday to reports of an armed robbery and shots fired at El Bodeguero Market at 4516 W. Imperial Highway, according to a statement from Lt. Scott Swain.

Swain said the store owner, who KTLA-TV reported was shielding his little niece, suffered a gunshot wound but the suspect had fled from the location when the officer arrived at the store.

The victim, whose identity was not released, was taken to a nearby hospital and is expected to survive.

Police said the robber was armed with a handgun and made his way behind the sales counter when he entered the store. Witnesses told police that the gunman was looking for money and rummaging through boxes.

The store owner was attempting to open the cash register when he heard a gunshot and realized that he had been shot in the back of the leg, Swain said.

“The owner’s family, including small children were present during the incident and rendered aid to their father,” Swain added.

A surveillance camera recorded the incident. 

Police describe the alleged gunman as a black man between the ages of 25 and 30. The man stands about 6 feet and weighs about 200 to 210 pounds. He was last wearing a dark-colored zip up jacket with hood, light-colored T-shirt, light-colored pants, tennis shoes and some type of black mask over his face, according to police.

Authorities hope someone can help police identify or locate the gunman by releasing video footage captured by the store’s surveillance camera.

Anyone with information about the crime can call Hawthorne Police Det. Paul Vu or Det. Andrew Batstone at (310) 349-2820.

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