RIVERSIDE, Calif. -

The owner of a Riverside tobacco shop was severely beaten Tuesday by a hammer-wielding suspect who robbed the business.
     

The 52-year-old woman, whose identity was withheld, was attacked around 12:30 p.m. inside Smoke Shop Plus at 1788 University Ave., just north of Chicago Avenue, according to Riverside police.

A man walked into the location and began striking the victim to get her away from the cash register, police said. After hitting the shop owner repeatedly in the head to incapacitate her, the suspect calmly took the money and took off on foot.

The woman stumbled out of the shop, seeking help from passers-by, who called 911."She was beat up," said witness Sandra Reyes. "There was blood coming out of her ears."

The victim was rushed to Riverside Community Hospital in serious but stable condition, authorities said.

Surveillance video showed the suspect was black, bearded, 35 to 40 years old, about 6 feet tall and 220 pounds, wearing a gray zippered sweatshirt and gray sweat pants, police said.

Anyone with information was urged to call the Riverside Police Department at (951) 826-5700.