Two D.C. police officers have been placed on limited duty and are the subjects of an internal investigation into reports that they left the scene after a 21-year-old man was killed in a gun battle on a Northwest street last weekend, police sources said yesterday.

Officers David Brown of the 6th District and William Ayers of the 1st District were off duty and working as security guards at a private party at a martial arts school at 510 Kennedy St. NW last Sunday when the shootout started outside shortly after 3:30 a.m.

Neither of the officers is a suspect in the fatal shooting. Brown, a 13-year oficer, had his gun taken from him by several unidentified men during a fight shortly after the shooting incident, sources said.

A police source said the officers "were not available" when homicide investigators arrived on the scene.

Police spokesman Lt. William White III acknowledged yesterday that investigations into the homicide and the conduct of the officers are under way, but would not elaborate.

Details of the shooting and gun loss remain sketchy, but sources close to the investigation said police do not believe Brown's .38-caliber service revolver was fired during the gun battle. Police would not say if the gun had been recovered.

During the shootout, Stephen Jackson of 4925 Fourth St. NW was hit once in the chest, staggered to the doorway of the school and was dragged inside by the officers. He was taken to D.C. General Hospital where he died at 6:45 a.m. Monday. Police said they have made no arrests in the case.

About 20 to 35 shots were fired during the gun battle, breaking several shop windows, police said.

According to the Metropolitan Police Department Manual governing the conduct of police officers, ". . . the fact that they police officers may be technically off duty shall not be held as relieving them from responsibility of taking proper police action in any matter coming to their attention . . . . "

Officials said Brown did not file a report of his stolen gun until 10 hours after the incident. Departmental general orders state that the loss or theft of a weapon, " . . . must be reported to the individual's commanding officer immediately."

Brown and Ayers have been placed on limited duty until the internal investigation is completed.