St. Paul police Tuesday continued to investigate the circumstances surrounding a gunfight near the Hmongtown Marketplace off Como and Pennsylvania avenues.

Police initially reported that two men, armed with handguns, attempted to rob a 24-year-old man about 5:30 p.m. Monday when the apparent victim pulled his own handgun and the three exchanged fire.

By Tuesday morning, the details of what transpired seemed less clear.

"This is a very complex incident that took place," said Sgt. Paul Paulos, a St. Paul police spokesman. "Investigators continue to look at what happened moments before, during and after."

Police were called to the marketplace on a report of shots fired. Once they arrived they recovered multiple casings, according to a police report.

St. Paul Cmdr. Steve Frazer said late Monday that the 24-year-old, who has a permit to carry, jumped in his car and chased his assailants.

Lowell Schoenherr, who was tossing a football with friends in the park across the street from the market, said he heard three gunshots and turned to see a man with a "pronounced limp" get into a vehicle that headed west on Como Avenue.

A car stopped behind that car and then continued, but it wasn't clear if it was tailing the other vehicle, Schoenherr said.

The three men later exchanged more gunfire in the 900 block of Thomas Avenue, Frazer said Monday. One of the assailants was shot in the foot and treated at Regions Hospital. The other escaped.

Rosa Lara, 58, said she was sitting at her dining room table early Monday night when she heard the sound of screeching car tires in the Thomas Avenue neighborhood.

She then got a call from a neighbor who claimed to have heard gunshots and who said that the back window of a vehicle behind Lara's home had been shot out.

When Lara and her nephew went outside a few minutes later, police cars were already on the scene.

"This is really scary," she said Tuesday.

The 24-year-old man was not injured and is cooperating with police.

Nicole Norfleet • 651-925-5032