LAKE ELSINORE ( – A Circle K convenience store cashier was shot and killed Wednesday morning at a small strip mall in Lake Elsinore.

At 5:20 a.m. deputies responded to the 16300 block of Lakeshore Drive to find a man who had been assaulted with a deadly weapon, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

The sheriff’s department would not disclose the victim’s condition. However, Circle K confirmed in a statement that one of their cashiers had been killed at that location.

A break in the case came Wednesday afternoon about a mile from the Circle K.

A Riverside County Sheriff’s Swat team ordered a man named James out of his house he came out in his pajamas with his hands up. Officials say he is a person of interest in the killing of Eric Whitcomb.

Customers were shocked to hear the news and said Whitcomb, who worked at the store for 12 years, had a heart of gold.

“He was a perfect gentlemen,” John Whittle said.

Former co-worker Jackie Rodriguez says Whitcomb would show up early and read in the car and he knew never to confront a robber.

“We are saddened by the passing of our longtime cashier and member of our team who was involved in a fatal incident this morning during a senseless act of violence at our Lake Elsinore store,” the statement read. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends, as we fully cooperate with authorities to bring this crime to justice. We have also extended full support to our employees at the store and in the area.”

The circumstances of the shooting were not immediately confirmed.

Pierce Patrick who lives across the street says it’s no surprise something happened here. She says she’s afraid to shop here at night because of drug dealing near the Circle K.