A suspected car thief was shot by a D.C. police officer in Columbia Heights this morning after allegedly backing into the officer with the stolen car, officials said.

D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), who represents the Northwest Washington neighborhood and was briefed by police after the incident, said officers saw the man filling his gas tank at Harvard Street and Sherman Avenue about 5:15 a.m. and determined that the car had been reported stolen.

"They were trying to block him in . . . they cornered him," Graham said. "He got back into the car and backed it up and hit the police officer," striking him in the leg.

A police department spokesman said the stolen vehicle also struck a police cruiser.

The officer fired several shots at the car, Graham said, but the suspected thief drove off. Police followed the car and arrested the man in the 2500 block of 13th Street, about five blocks away.

After he was placed in a police cruiser, the man told the officers he had been shot in the torso, Graham said.

Both he and the police officer were taken to hospitals for treatment of their injuries, the department spokesman said. None of the injuries was considered life-threatening.

Officer Junis Fletcher, the police spokesman, said two separate investigations of the incident will be conducted. The department's force investigation team will probe the officer's decision to fire his weapon, while detectives in the 3rd District will investigate the suspected car theft and the injuries to the officer.

Graham said he was pleased to hear about police activity in an area of the city that has seen considerable violence in recent weeks, including a triple shooting early yesterday{vbar}http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/01/AR2007110102464.html that left one dead and two wounded.

"Our neighborhoods are under siege by crime right now. It's a very uneasy time for a lot of people," Graham said. "And that's why we're anxious to see positive progress in terms of apprehending those responsible."