A sailor from Suitland was charged yesterday with murdering an officer on a Navy frigate Sunday while their ship sailed in the western Atlantic, a Navy spokesman said.

The defendant, Petty Officer 3rd Class Mitchell T. Garraway Jr., 21, an internal communications specialist, was being held in Newport, R.I., after being taken ashore from the USS Miller, the Navy said. Garraway also was charged with carrying a concealed weapon.

Spokesman Archie Galloway, of the Atlantic Fleet Surface Force in Norfolk, identified Garraway as a former student at Suitland High School, who enlisted in 1982 in Suitland.

The victim, Lt. James K. Sterner, 35, a former Prince William County teacher, was found lying near the ship's engine rooms about 10:40 p.m. Sunday with stab wounds in his back. He died about 40 minutes later, according to the Navy.

The Miller, a training ship for reservists, interrupted a month-long deployment and returned to Newport late Monday to allow Naval Investigative Service agents aboard, the Navy said. Galloway declined to say whether others were involved in the incident.

The Miller anchored off Newport and its 200-man crew was kept aboard while the investigation was being conducted, the Navy said.

Sterner, who joined the Navy in 1980 in Washington, served as the ship's main propulsion assistant and supervised crew members in the Miller's engineering spaces, according to the Navy.

A Prince William County school official said yesterday that Sterner had taught there for three years at the Fred Lynn and Woodbridge middle schools before leaving in 1980. Sterner's wife and three children live in Middletown, R.I., near Newport.