updated 12/2/2008 12:08:13 PM ET 2008-12-02T17:08:13

A man was shot and critically injured while intervening in an argument at a Kmart store's loading dock Tuesday morning, and police were searching for the gunman.

The 35-year-old victim was shot three times, in the head, arm and chest, around 9:30 a.m., said Philadelphia police spokeswoman Christine O'Brien. He was in critical condition at a hospital.

Investigators believe the victim, whose name was not released, was intervening in an argument when one of the men shot him, O'Brien said.

Police fanned out around the northeast Philadelphia store in search of the gunman and were turning away customers at the door. Investigators also could be seen talking to people inside the store.

It was not immediately known whether any of the people involved worked at the store.

Kim Freely, a Chicago-based Kmart spokeswoman, declined to comment.

Two elementary schools, one of them several blocks from the scene, were locked down after the shooting, said Fernando Gallardo, a spokesman for the city school district.

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