The man accused in the shooting death of a D.C. police officer during a burglary in Georgetown last May has told police he was defending himself and was struggling to get the officer's gun away from him when it discharged, according to a statement he made to police.

"I was trying to get the gun out of his hands," Michael A. Perry Jr., 18, told D.C. homicide investigators in an interview recorded May 19, the day of the shooting, and played during a pretrial hearing in D.C. Superior Court yesterday.

"I never really had no reason to kill that officer," said Perry, who said he and Officer Robert Remington, 39, "tussled" over Remington's gun after Remington responded to an early-morning burglar alarm at Hugo Boss, a fashionable men's clothing store in the 1500 block of Wisconsin Avenue NW.

Police allege that Perry and Remington, who was an 18-year veteran, struggled over the gun. Perry, they say, was shot once in the hand before he gained control of the weapon and shot Remington five times while the officer pleaded for his life.

Perry and Derwin B. Straite, 22, both of Northwest Washington, are charged with the first-degree murder in the slaying of Remington, second-degree burglary, assaulting a police officer and attempted theft. Jury selection in their trial is expected to begin today after Judge Truman A. Morrison III rules on pretrial motions.

Perry's statement to police was played in court yesterday while his attorney, Greta VanSusteren, and prosecutor William Martin argued over whether it could be admitted as evidence in the case and whether Perry understood his rights when he granted the interview.

Morrison denied a defense motion to suppress Perry's statement but has yet to rule on a similar defense motion to suppress a statement -- on videotape -- by Straite.

Perry, dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit, sat impassively through yesterday's proceedings.

On the taped interview, Perry sounded calm and lucid. He told investigators who visited him at D.C. General Hospital that he and friends had been smoking the drug PCP when they decided to break into the Georgetown store and "take stuff."

When Remington entered the store, Perry said, he hid after discovering that his friends had fled. The officer, he said, came at him with his gun drawn, shouted a racial slur and ordered him not to move.

"He was doing it in a way like he had an attitude or something," said Perry, who complained that Remington "jerked" his arm while trying to handcuff him and threatened to shoot him.

"I reached my hand up {to stop him from shooting} and pow, he shot me," said Perry. "I yelled and then I went towards him."

During the struggle, Perry said, both men had their hands on the weapon. He initially denied shooting Remington, then said, "I guess both of us did . . . we were tussling." Perry said he didn't know how many shots were fired during the struggle.

Asked later who shot the officer, Perry replied, "I don't know . . . . It was both of us . . . . He had a better grip on it {the gun} than I did."

At one point during the interview, Perry's interrogator, D.C. homicide detective Raymond J. Greene, told Perry that Remington had been shot five times.

"Don't you think it's a little strange that the policeman shot himself five times?" Greene asked.

"Yes," said Perry, who continued to deny shooting the officer.