Robert R. Barrow, who was shot twice by an Arlington police officer who was pursuing him Tuesday night after Barrow's wife was found shot to death, was charged yesterday with discharging a firearm in an occupied building, police said.

Barrow, 46, was listed in serious condition in Arlington Hospital, suffering gunshot wounds in the abdomen and chest, according to his attorney, Mark Sandground.

Nancy K. Barrow, 44, was found shot to death on the kitchen floor of her home at 4818 N. 25th St. after neighbors reported hearing screaming and the sound of gunshots about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. Police would not say how many wounds Barrow suffered or where she was struck.

Robert Barrow was shot after police stopped his car minutes later on Patrick Henry Drive near George Mason Drive.

Police said Jeffrey T. Markley, the 23-year-old officer who fired at Barrow, was justified in using his gun. "Markley ordered Barrow to drop the weapon; Barrow continued toward him," said police spokesman Greg Kurasz. "All the investigation up to this point is showing he was justified. He did nothing improper."

Kurasz said Markley, who has been in the police department since January 1984, is scheduled to return to work Saturday. An internal police department investigation into the shooting is continuing, he said.

Yesterday police, neighbors and a former attorney for Nancy Barrow puzzled over the incident, which occurred shortly before the couple's divorce was scheduled to become final.

According to court records and Arlington Commissioner in Chancery John L. Melnick, Robert Barrow filed for divorce in November 1984 on grounds of adultery. Melnick and Nancy Barrow's attorney said the couple had separated earlier that year, and Barrow had moved to an apartment at 4089 S. Four Mile Run Dr.

Nancy Barrow's attorney, Frances Halsey, said the divorce proceedings were tedious but not unusually bitter, except for a tense struggle for custody of the couple's 9-year-old son, Jason.

"There's only one child and they both were extremely close to him," she said. "Neither one of them wanted to be deprived of any rights."

She said the couple had agreed informally to a shared custody arrangement, in which they would alternate months taking care of Jason, but that plan had not received final court approval.

Sandground, who said he will be counseling Barrow throughout criminal proceedings, said his client is a retired lieutenant colonel in the Army and a senior CPA with the Defense Contract Audit Agency, part of the Defense Department.

"It's a tragic situation, a human tragedy," Sandground said. He said the couple's son is staying with relatives in the area; a preliminary hearing on his custody is scheduled for today in Arlington Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

Police said Nancy Barrow worked part-time as a secretary in Crystal City.

Nancy Barrow's neighbors on North 25th Street, a quiet block of single-family homes, said yesterday they were stunned by the shooting, noting that the Barrows' separation appeared amicable. Several neighbors said news of the shooting shocked them particularly because Nancy Barrow had seemed happy and satisfied lately.

One neighbor, who asked not to be identified, recalled seeing Nancy Barrow, Barrow's mother and Jason, dressed smartly in a new jacket, as the three returned from church on Mother's Day.

"I said, 'It looks like things are really looking up, aren't they,' " the neighbor recalled, "and she said, 'Yes.' "