A 54-year-old Defense Department investigator was shot to death about 6 p.m. yesterday during an apparent robbery attempt in the 3100 block of Chesapeake Street NW, according to D.C. police.

Investigators said that Paul Worthington Reed of 4845 Linnean Ave. NW was walking his dog when he was shot at least twice by a person armed with a handgun. Reed was taken to D.C. General Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

No arrests were made last night and there were no suspects, according to police.

Police said that Reed was found in the roadway at the intersection of Gates and Chesapeake Streets. His dog's leash was found nearby, but the animal -- a poodle -- had run to Reed's home, apparently terrified by the gunfire.

Reed was a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel. In recent years he had worked for the Defense Department as a civilian special investigator. It could not be determined immediately, however, which branch of the Pentagon's criminal security or intelligence arms he worked for.

The neighborhood where the shooting occurred is a secluded, wooded, cul-de-sac of expensive homes. Residents of the neighborhood said they often saw Reed walking his dog.

Reed was a native of Washington and a graduate of Woodrow Wilson High and the Virginia Military Institute.

He also did graduate work in international relations at Georgetown University, and studied German and Spanish at the Georgetown Institute of Languages and Linguistics.

Immediately after World War 2, he served in France, Germany and Austria.

Reed's neighbors remembered him as a quiet, lean man of about six feet who lived with his mother. One neighbor said that "he was friendly and said hello to everyone when he walked his dog; he sure loved that dog."

Police reported that the dog was found at home by Reed's mother after the shooting.