Three people -- a man, a woman and a teenage boy -- were found dead in a split-level house in McLean yesterday, more than 36 hours after neighbors heard what they later realized were gunshots.

The bodies, discovered in the 6800 block of Broyhill Street, each had bullet wounds to the upper body, police said. Authorities did not immediately identify the victims.

According to neighbors and land records, the residents of the home are Fuad K. Taima; his wife, Dorothy Taima; and their son, Leith, a student at McLean High School.

Fuad Taima, an Iraqi native who runs an international consulting business, helped create the American Iraqi Foundation, a group formed during the Persian Gulf War to try to develop better ties between the people of Iraq and the United States.

Dorothy Taima works at American University's English Language Institute teaching English as a second language.

The family has been active in the McLean Soccer league, according to Toby DeBarr, of McLean, who has known the Taimas for about seven years. Leith Taima is a referee, Dorothy Taima coordinates the referees and Fuad Taima is responsible for the newsletter.

Friends of Leith said he was not in class yesterday. B.J. Lieberman, 16, who played on soccer teams with Leith in the past, said he did not notice if the boy was in school on Thursday.

Some neighbors on Broyhill Street said they had heard noise similar to gunshots from the direction of the Taima home on Wednesday night.

"I was in my kitchen and I said, `That sounded like gunfire,' " said one woman, who asked not to be identified. "I thought, `Maybe it's firecrackers or a backfire.' I forgot all about it."

Police said an individual called authorities about 2:40 p.m. yesterday to ask that someone check on the family. Officials did not identify the caller.

Police said there was no sign of forced entry and that the front door was unlocked when officers arrived. Detectives said last night they were investigating the deaths as a triple homicide, but they added that neighbors did not need to worry about the possibility of a killer on the loose.

"I don't think we have anyone out running rampant," Fairfax police Capt. Audrey Slyman said. "If we had those concerns about the neighbors, we would be planning a community meeting."

But she added, "If I thought this was clearly domestic, we would tell you. We don't know."

Last evening, police cordoned off the home and detectives were still inside as the sun set. A white Oldsmobile parked in front of the house bears the license plate IRQ1.

A teenage girl from the neighborhood placed a bouquet of roses and carnations on the car's trunk. Later, about a dozen McLean High School students arrived with bunches of flowers.

Salim Mansoor, a Falls Church man who helped start the American Iraqi Foundation, said he and Fuad Taima have known each other since they attended the same high school in Baghdad.

"I knew him from back home," Mansoor said. "I know his family."

Taimi and Mansoor were members of a seven-person delegation that traveled to Baghdad in October 1991 to meet with Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi president. The group returned to the United States with 14 former hostages.

Taima, Mansoor said, is the only son of wealthy parents and came to the United States to study business at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He married Dorothy after a prior marriage ended in divorce. The couple have lived in the McLean home since the 1970s.

The deaths were the second triple killing in Fairfax this month. On May 11, police found the bodies of Jimmy, Jannis and Elmer Gardner in a fallout shelter behind their Lorton home. They were stabbed to death. Authorities have named Keith Gardner, son of Jimmy and Jannis, as a suspect and have issued a fugitive warrant for him.

Staff writer Justin Blum and Metro researcher Bobbye Pratt contributed to this report.