Detectives investigating the shotgun shooting Thursday night of an off-duty police officer and a companion believe the two were targets of a robbery carried out by as many as three men, police said.

The companion, who was recovering from a leg wound and was described as distraught, has told detectives that the men who approached them Thursday night were after money.

"From what she told us, it appears it was a robbery," said a police official. "They got money from her, and they very well might have gotten money from him."

The shooting took place just before midnight in the parking lot of Barnard Elementary School, near the 400 block of Crittenden Street NW, where Officer David Guion, 28, and the woman were sitting in his car.

The woman, who is 34, told police that two or three men approached the car. Detectives have been unable to question Guion, who spent most of the night in surgery and was listed in serious but stable condition at Washington Hospital Center.

It is not clear what led to the violence. Guion had seven pellet wounds in his upper body, and the woman was struck at least once in the leg.

The assailants apparently fled in Guion's car and drove it to the 1900 block of Savannah Terrace SE, where, fire officials said, it was set ablaze. As of last night, there were no suspects in the case.

Guion, a two-year member of the department assigned to the 3rd District, was described by several officials as an accomplished young officer with a good record. It could not be learned whether he had been on duty earlier in the day, or whether he had his service revolver with him.

A 4th District police sergeant said there have been no problems at the school parking lot, which is on a residential block. But two blocks away, he said, police have had problems with drug dealers.

The shooting was the second attempted robbery of a police officer in a week. About 11 p.m. Monday, 7th District Officer Christopher Leary was stopped by a youth in front of an apartment building in the 4400 block of G Street SE.

A 15-year-old drew what appeared to be a gun on Leary, who was off duty and not in uniform, in an apparent robbery attempt. Leary opened fire on the teenager, wounding him in the chest.

The victim was taken to Children's Hospital, where he was in stable condition. He is under police guard and will be charged with attempted robbery. Police are investigating the incident and have determined that the gun the teenager pulled was a toy, made to look like a .45-caliber weapon, according to an officer on the scene.