The 31-year-old victim, a Santa Rosa resident, told police a man he didn't know approached him and asked for a cigarette around 5:15 a.m. in front of the Redwood Park Apartments in the 2000 block of Piner Road, police Sgt. David Linscomb said.
During an argument in the parking area, the robbery suspect fired a shot toward the ground, Linscomb said. The victim was not injured.
Police found a spent cartridge from a semi-automatic handgun and other evidence of the altercation and searched the area with help from Sonoma County sheriff's deputies, Linscomb said. The suspect was not found.
The suspect is a black man between 20-22 years old. He is more than 6 feet tall, weighs approximately 185 pounds, and he wore his shoulder-length hair in a ponytail, police said.
He was last seen wearing a black coat, black pants and a backwards baseball cap. Anyone with information is asked to call Santa Rosa police at (707) 543-3600.