A Loudoun County sheriff's deputy fatally shot a 31-year-old Manassas man Friday shortly after the man killed his wife, a sheriff's spokesman said yesterday.

Adrian L. Tavenner, a sheriff's dispatcher, said the shooting was the first involving a Loundon County officer in recent memory. "I've been a police in Loudon for 16 years and no one here can ever remember an officer having to shoot and kill someone," Tavenner said.

The shootings occurred during a family gathering at a home in the Arcola community, he said. The dead man, John Edwin Walker Jr. of 9581 Covington Pl., Manassas, had gone to his father's home on Rte. 621 there and began fighting with his 29-year-old wife, Rebecca, the officer said.

When Walker's brother, Kenneth, tried to seperate the fighting couple, John Walker pulled a .22-caliber gun and shot his wife in the chest, Tavenner said. Family members summoned police and a rescue squad.

Still brandishing his gun, Walker said, "I'll kill you," to Deputy Sheriff George Diehl, one of the first officers on the scene.

Diehl tried to talk the man into dropping his weapon as Sheriff's Lt. Edwin Swain approached Walker from another direction.

When Swain urged Walker to "drop his gun," Walker whirled around and pointed his revolver at Swain, a sheriff's spokesman said.Diehl then yelled a warning and Walker turned again, pointing his gun at the deputy.

Diehl shot Walker in the chest and he was pronounced deat at Loundon Memorial Hospital. His wife, taken earlier to another hospital in the area, was also pronounced dead on arrival, police said.

Diehl was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into the shooting, Tavenner said.