A D.C. police officer shot out the tires of a car driven by a man trying to flee the scene of a burglary in Georgetown yesterday, but the man escaped on foot after the car crashed on N Street NW, D.C. police reported.

They said the officer opened fire after the thief shot first. Neither the officer nor a woman arrested at the scene was injured, police said, although blood found on the car's hood indicated the man may have been wounded in the gunfire.

Police said the man was first spotted browsing through clothes racks about 11 a.m. by a salesman at the Lauvin clothing store, 1246 Wisconsin Ave. NW.

He left, then returned about 30 minutes later, grabbed six leather jackets worth a total of about $1,500 and fled onto Wisconsin Avenue, police said.

Alfred A. Arnold, a clerk in the store, said he ran after the man, yelling "Get him! Get him!"

Police said that shortly before the robbery, William J. Frye, a 2nd District Police officer on routine patrol in the area, noticed a car with a female passenger parked on the north side of N Street west of Wisconsin Avenue. Frye, who was driving a marked police cruiser, pulled over in front of the car and got out to investigate, police said.

As he was approaching the car, police said, Frye heard someone yelling "Stop! I've been robbed!" and saw a man loaded down with jackets being chased around the corner from Wisconsin Avenue.

When the thief spotted Frye, police said, the man pulled out a handgun concealed beneath the jackets and fired one shot, then threw the jackets into the car and hopped into the driver's seat.

As he was speeding away, police said, Frye pulled his service revolver and opened fire, striking two of the car's wheels. Frye then got into his cruiser and chased the suspects down N Street to the intersection of 34th Street, police said, where the fleeing car lost control and sideswiped another vehicle before coming to a stop.

The man jumped out of the car, police said, and Frye again fired from his service revolver, but the robber ran away and eluded a police search of the area. Police said they found the stolen jackets inside the car.

Police said a woman in the car, identified as Dianne Bullock, 28, of 1425 N St. NW, was arrested and charged with burglary as an accessory after the fact.