One woman was killed and a companion critically wounded by a gunman who fired at least five shots in the narrow stairwell of an apartment building in the Brentwood Village section of Northeast Washington yesterday morning, police and residents said.

The volley of shots shortly after 6:30 a.m. awakened residents in one of a series of buildings in Brookland Manor, a housing complex off 14th Street, south of Rhode Island Avenue NE.

Several people said they looked out their windows and saw a wounded man lying in a courtyard in front of their building. In the stairwell of the three-story brick building they found Lawana Fuller, 24, who had been shot several times.

Fuller was later pronounced dead by the medical examiner.

The man, whose identity was not released because he is a witness, was taken to Washington Hospital Center, where he underwent surgery. Information on his condition was not released by the hospital.

Late in the day, police said they were questioning a suspect. Police did not release a motive, and the suspect's name was withheld pending a charge.

Fuller's aunt, Queen Belcher, and her cousin, Angela Brown, went to the building about 11 a.m. Two maintenance workers had just finished cleaning blood off the stairwell.

The two women said they had just returned from the morgue, where they identified Fuller's body for the authorities.

Neither Fuller nor the man lived in the building, residents said, and it was unclear whether they were visiting someone or simply standing in the hallway.

Fuller had recently moved in with her father and was attempting to start "a new life," Belcher said.

The Brentwood Village killing was the first of two yesterday. Shortly before 11 last night, an unidentified man was found shot to death in the 1800 block of Third Street NE. It was the 37th homicide of the year in the city.

The man was shot on the landing of a low-rise aparment building that police said is known for illegal drug activity. Officers said the killing appeared to have occurred during a robbery attempt, and said there were several witnesses.