To their neighbors, the Clarks were a "very fine family," civic minded and active in the community block club.

So this quiet, black middle-class cummunity was shocked early yesterday by the news that Charles F. Clark, 59, of 5114 3rd St. NW had been arrested in the shooting death of his 26-year-old son, George.

District of Columbia police said the shooting apparently followed an argument that began about 12:40 a.m. yesterday. Thirty-five minutes later, police said, the younger Clark grabbed a shotgun and his father responded by picking up a handgun. The elder Clark allegedly shot his son in the face after the son had first shot at him, police said.

Police said George Clark had threatened to kill his mother Monday morning. When told by his wife of the threat, the elder Clark ordered his son to move out of their home, police said.

D.C. Superior Court Judge Nicholas S. Nunzio yesterday released Clark on personal bond under the custody of the Blackman's Development Center, a third-party custody organization on Kennedy Street NW. A preliminary hearing was set for Nov. 27.

According to court records, Clark has worked as a porter for 13 years.

The Clarks lived in the Brightwood community on a street of modest brick row houses with awninged porches and near lawns sloping down to a street lined with oak and cedar trees.

Brightwood is a close-knit community of retired people and government workers and teachers, where at least 98 percent of the residents probably voted yesterday, explained Juanita Groves, of 5118 3rd St. NW.

Neighbors declined to talk about the Clark family's personal lives. The Clarks also have a daughter in her 20s, neighbors said.

The family "always did all they could to help people," said Groves. Within the past year, the Clarks have hosted the block club at their home.

"They were quiet people," said one neighbor who asked not to be named. "You just wouldn't have expected it to happen."