A former D.C. Corrections Department employee was critically wounded early yesterday when he exchanged gunfire with two county police officers at a Camp Springs apartment complex, Prince George's County police said.

Police identified the wounded man as Raymond Zachary Simpson, 38, of Camp Springs. They said two uniformed officers on foot patrol spotted Simpson carrying a handgun about 4 a.m. as he was running through a parking lot at the Andrews Manor apartments in the 6300 block of Maxwell Drive, a few blocks from Andrews Air Force Base.

The two male officers, whose names were withheld by police, ordered Simpson to drop his gun and to "get on the ground," said Royce D. Holloway, a police spokesman. Instead, Simpson raised his gun and fired at least three shots at the officers, Holloway said.

The officers then fired a total of 10 to 12 rounds with their Beretta 9mm service weapons, Holloway said. One bullet struck Simpson in the head and another hit him in the foot, and he went down in front of a garbage bin, police said. The officers have been placed on administrative leave, pending an investigation of the shooting.

Simpson's car, a late-model Lincoln, was found idling nearby. Police said they also recovered a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun from the scene.

Simpson was taken to Prince George's Hospital Center in Cheverly, where he was listed in critical condition yesterday after undergoing surgery. No charges have been filed against him, police said.

Police don't know why Simpson opened fire on the officers, Holloway said. "We're at a loss as to why this guy shot at the police," Holloway said. "Why he did this, we just don't know."

Investigators said they are trying to determine whether there is a connection between the incident in which Simpson was shot and an attempted armed robbery reported outside the same building moments earlier.

Holloway said two people told police that three armed men had tried to rob them about 4 a.m., apparently as the two police officers were walking their beat just around the corner and seconds before they encountered Simpson.

But officials said there was no indication that the two uniformed officers knew there had been a robbery attempt.

Holloway said that the two officers did not see the robbery suspects and that Simpson did not match the description of any of the robbers given by the holdup victims, he said.

Simpson worked for the D.C. Department of Corrections for 11 years before he resigned June 7, said corrections spokesman Bill Meeks. Simpson was last assigned to the Youth Center Facility at Lorton, said Meeks, who did not say why Simpson resigned.

Prince George's police said Simpson's most recent address was in the 5400 block of Maxwell Drive in Camp Springs, but public records list his address as the 5400 block of Morris Avenue, around the corner from where he was shot.

Police said they recently stepped up patrols in Andrews Manor after several robberies and a number of complaints about drug dealing.

Maj. Gerald Wilson, commander of the police district that includes Camp Springs, said the department opened a satellite station at Andrews Manor two years ago. He said he further increased the number of officers in the area after meeting with management officials at the complex last fall.

"We've had concerns about drug distribution in the community," he said. "The folks here have asked for support, and we've given them that."