A 32-year-old District of Columbia man - who was charged in Prince George's County with stealing food from a Giant Food Store - was critically wounded in the head by a county police officer yesterday after he allegedly tried to escape from custody, county police said.

County police spokesman John Hoxie said the suspect, William Ray, of 1830 Providence St. NE, was shot after he broke away from Peter F. Morgan, a county policeman who was taking him from the county commissioner's office to a lock-up in the Seat Pleasant police station.

Hoxie said the suspect had just been charged with the larceny of two hams from the Giant Food Store at 4801 Marlboro Pike, Coral Hills, and was to be held in the Seat Pleasant Jail in lieu of $200 bond.

The suspect was being led from the county commissioner's office to the near by lock-up, according to Hoxie, when he allegedly pushed the officer and broke away.

Hoxie said the suspect ran across Addison Road and was in the church yard of the Seat Pleasant Baptist Church when Officer Morgan told him to halt.

The suspect kept running, according to Hoxie, who said the officer fired his .38-caliber revolver once, striking the suspect in the back of the head.

Hoxie said the suspect was taken to Prince George's General Hospital where he was in critical condition yesterday and undergoing surgery.

Hoxie said the officer has been put on routine administrative leave with pay pending an internal investigation of the shooting.