HAYWARD -- A would-be shoplifter who shot a Home Depot security officer and pistol-whipped another over the weekend was trying to steal a $250 tool, police said Monday.

"He tried to steal a laser level but got caught, fired and then fought," Lt. Mark Stuart said of the Sunday afternoon melee at the busy business on the 21700 block of Hesperian Boulevard. The suspect, who remained at large on Monday, got away but did not make off with the leveling tool.

During the chaos, a 27-year-old Fremont man was shot once in the right shoulder and a 30-year-old man from Hayward was pistol-whipped twice in the head, Stuart said. Both were home resting on Monday after being treated for their respective injuries.

Both security officers were dressed in plain clothes when they saw the suspect grab the gadget, then walk out of the store, police said. The officers confronted him outside, identified themselves and attempted to stop him, each of them grabbing an arm in attempt to handcuff the suspect, but the man spun away and one of the officers fell to the ground.

The suspect then drew a revolver and shot the 27-year-old officer who was still standing, Stuart said. He turned and pistol-whipped the other officer on the side of the head, then ran eastbound in the parking lot, across Hesperian Boulevard and north toward a nearby sandwich shop.

The officer who was shot was taken to a hospital with a non life-threatening injury; the other officer refused treatment at the scene and sought his own medical attention, Stuart said. Both men were recovering at home on Monday.

As of Monday evening the suspect was still at large and police continued to review surveillance video of the incident.

Police described the suspect as a white or light-skinned man, 30 to 40 years old and 6 feet tall. He had short grayish hair with a short ponytail. He wore jean shorts that extended to mid-calf, an orange T-shirt, a gray sweatshirt, white socks pulled up to his knees and a dark-colored baseball type hat.

Police said they found some of the suspect's clothing behind a nearby doughnut shop.

Anyone with information about the theft and shooting is asked to call police at 510-293-7000.

Contact Natalie Neysa Alund at 510-293-2469. Follow her at Twitter.com/nataliealund.