The Loudoun County teenager accused of using a shotgun to kill his mother and wound his father Tuesday was described by friends yesterday as a loner who sometimes ran away from home.

Joshua E. Tulip, 18, left most recently in December, the friends said. "He was always that way. They were always looking for him," said Scotty Anderson, 20, one of Tulip's childhood friends. "He was more or less the quiet type . . . ."

The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office said Tulip allegedly shot his mother, Barbara Tulip, and as she sat bleeding in a chair, waited for his father, David E. Tulip. When his father arrived and tried to call rescue workers, Joshua Tulip allegedly shot him from behind, said Lt. Jeff Brown.

Police say they don't have a motive for the shootings.

Joshua Tulip, who was charged with first-degree murder, was held without bail yesterday after a partial arraignment.

Tulip's arraignment will continue this morning to give him time to hire a lawyer. Commonwealth's Attorney William Burch said charges have not yet been filed in the shooting of the father. If convicted of first-degree murder, Joshua Tulip would face life in prison.

David E. Tulip, 52, was reported in serious condition yesterday at Washington Hospital Center with shotgun wounds in his buttocks, said John Buchko, a hospital spokesman. David Tulip, a federal employee, underwent surgery to remove pellets, Buchko said.

Barbara Tulip, 48, was found dead in their refurbished single-family house on a gravel road west of Route 671 in the Neersville area, a farming community about 15 miles from Leesburg, the sheriff's office said. The slaying was the first in the area in more than 30 years, said Leonard Lineberry, owner of a convenience store. It was the first this year in Loudoun County.

Carolyn Anderson, Joshua Tulip's school bus driver for 13 years, said he told her Tuesday that he had failed two exams the previous week and was taking his grades home that afternoon. According to Anderson, Tulip failed algebra and government.

"He was laughing and talking, and it didn't seem to bother him," she said. "I knew he wanted to get home because he was taking his girl to the movies."

Friends described Barbara Tulip as a civic activist who whipped up enthusiasm and dedicated years to refurbishing the Hillsboro Community Center.

She also operated a flower business out of her home, helped organize Christmas events in the area and worked with 4-H clubs, said Kay Copeland, of Hillsboro, who sat with her on the board of the Hillsboro Community Center.

Students at Loudoun Valley High School, where Joshua Tulip was a senior, could talk of little else yesterday, said Jennifer Hurne, 18, a senior. She said Joshua Tulip had few close friends and was sometimes an outsider.

Anderson and others said that Joshua Tulip enjoyed working with farm animals and had been a member of a 4-H club. But he didn't stay out late or go to many parties, Anderson said.