The search for the fifth and final suspect in last week's drive-by shooting in Northwest ended yesterday in Los Angeles with the arrest of a 16-year-old, District police said.

The suspect, who will be charged as an adult, tried to escape out a back window when police tracked him yesterday afternoon to a house in Tujunga, in the foothills north of Los Angeles, police said. It is unclear how the youth, who police initially said was 14, traveled to California.

The four other suspects, a 16-year-old and three 14-year-olds, were arrested in the District last Friday and Saturday and charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

Detectives from the 1st District spent time in the Carolinas earlier this week, searching for the remaining suspect. It is unclear how the investigators, who have worked almost nonstop since the shooting, tracked him across the country.

The 16-year-old arrested last week appeared in court yesterday and was charged as an adult -- an option police have with suspects 16 to 18 years old, depending on the seriousness of the crime.

Police yesterday would not release either 16-year-old's name.

Yesterday's arrest ended a search that began after the Dec. 20 shooting on the corner of Fifth and O streets NW, which wounded four teenage boys and a 6-year-old girl. Police said the daytime shooting stemmed from a long-running dispute between rival groups in Northwest, one based in LeDroit Park and the other in the Shaw neighborhood, where the incident took place.

At least three weapons were fired from a moving car at the group of teenagers, standing on the corner. Police sources said three and possibly four of the youths wounded were targets. All, including the 6-year-old girl who happened to be standing nearby, have been released from the hospital.