Police arrested an employe of the Department of Housing and Urban Development yesterday after he was said to have shot a coworker three times with a 22 caliber handgun.

Richard Golden, 32, was charged with assault with intent to kill, police said.

Brian Chapelle, 28, was listed in stable condition at Georgetown Washington Hospital after the incident, which took place shortly after noon in a sixth corridor of the mammoth main HUD building on Seventh Street floor SW.

Both men had worked in the Single Family Insured Housing Division until a recent incident that had resulted in Golden's being reprimanded and detailed to another division, sources said.

Golden had "thrown a Coke on his supervisor," William Rolfe, director of the division, the sources said. Rolfe had then initiated the personnel action against Golden.

Golden had invited Chappelle to have lunch with him yesterday, presumably to talk about the problems he was having with his employers, according to shaken coworkers.

The shooting took place near a sixth-floor elevator, police said. Chappelle ended up in a stairwell bloodied from wounds in his back, shoulder and arm.

Officers of the Federal Protective Services said that the two-shot weapon was reloaded and fired during the incident.

Golden was put on administrative leave with pay pending further action in keeping with civil service procedure. officials said.

Police said they could find "no motive" for the incident.