A Washington orthopedist and another man were found fatally shot in the head yesterday afternoon inside the doctor's Northwest office, D.C. police reported.

The body of Dr. Samuel M. Tucker, 43, an orthopedic surgeon and licensed pharmacist, was discovered by his wife about 2 p.m. in his office at 1829 13th Street NW, police said.

They said a second man, whom they identified as Samuel Williams, 40, of the 3900 block of Bel Pre Road, Silver Spring, was found critically wounded in the office and taken by fire department ambulance to Howard University Hospital, where he died a short time later. Police said they did not know whether Williams was a patient of Tucker.

Carolyn Tucker, who lived with her husband at 5921 Second Place NW, discovered Tucker's body when she went to the office after another person was unable to get inside and called her for an explanation, police sources said.

They said the bodies were found in separate rooms of the office, a two-bedroom apartment that Tucker had lived in while at Howard University Medical School and had converted into an office about 15 years ago, according to neighbors.

Police said the office showed no signs of forced entry, but they refused to say whether there were signs of a struggle inside.

Although Tucker was a pharmacist, police said, he apparently did not store drugs in his office. They said the motive for the slayings was not known and declined to say what time the shootings may have occurred.

Friends of Tucker and residents of the building, a three-story brick apartment house next to the old Whitelaw Hotel, said Tucker was well-known in the neighborhood and a favorite of children.

"He was a wonderful man. I just can't understand it," said Ernest C. Bailey, a resident of the building who said he'd talked to Tucker about 11:30 a.m. by phone at his office.

"He frequently gave medical advice without charge," he said. "I just had my blood pressure checked. The nurse told me I was 160 over 84 and I called to ask him what that meant. He was always the first person you'd go to for advice."

"He was loved by all the neighborhood kids," Bailey said. "They'd run to him with their report cards and he'd give them a prize."

Tina Acty, 19, who used to live in the building and said she knew Tucker about 12 years, described him as "the type of person who took the time to listen if kids had a problem they needed to discuss. Children liked him because he didn't treat you like a kid. He treated you like a person."

"If I needed help with homework or someone to talk to, he helped me out," she continued. "If I needed an odd job, he was the type who gave it to me, no matter if he could do it himself."

"He was always willing to lend a helping hand," said Scheyrle Matthews, who lives next door to the office and attributed Tucker's popularity with children to his "youthful appearance."

"If they were bouncing a basketball he'd yell, 'Throw the ball to me,' and show them how to do a few jump shots. Everybody loved him and thought very highly of him."