The Ballou High School student who was fatally shot on a Metrobus on Friday evening probably was the intended target of the attack, D.C. police investigators said yesterday, reversing their initial contention that the shooting was random.

Investigators have not announced a suspect or a motive in the slaying of Teddy Garvin, 17, but they are piecing together tips that he may have been involved in a dispute with another young man in the days leading up to the slaying.

"We don't believe it was a random shooting at all," said Cmdr. Winston Robinson, of the 7th Police District. "We believe he was the intended target."

Robinson said a possible "physical altercation" involving Garvin was one of several leads investigators are pursuing. They are trying to determine who else may have been involved in the fight.

Robinson said he did not have any details on the nature of the dispute. Police have no evidence that Garvin, who was a star tennis player and a trumpet player on the Ballou marching band, was involved in criminal activity, Robinson said.

Angela Garvin, one of Teddy Garvin's aunts, said the family does not know of any fight involving the young man, and family members said Garvin had "no enemies whatsoever."

A D.C. public school official said security officers spoke to Garvin about an altercation Sept. 9 during or after a marching band practice. The official would not say whether Garvin was a witness or a participant in the incident and referred questions to the police. Robinson said he did not know whether this incident was related to the shooting.

Friday's brazen attack initially left police grasping for leads. They appealed to the public for help, and "we've had a lot of calls and cooperation," Robinson said.

The characterization of Garvin as the target of the attack came two days after a news conference at which a police lieutenant stated emphatically: "Yes, it was a random shooting." Yesterday, Robinson said "there was a lot of jumping the gun" in the account police gave of the incident Saturday.

Robinson said the "method of the shooting" was the chief factor convincing him that the attack was not random. Just after Garvin had taken his seat next to an open window on the A2 bus in the 4200 block of Wheeler Road SE, someone reached into the window with a gun and fired a single shot. The assailant pulled himself up to the window opening to get a better angle, Robinson said.

Garvin was hit in the armpit, but no one else on board knew what had caused the loud sound. After being reassured that the roughly 40 passengers were all right, the driver continued on his route in the Barnaby Terrace neighborhood for nine or 10 more minutes, when a passenger reported that the young man sitting nearby was slumped over. Garvin was pronounced dead at D.C. General Hospital.

He was taking the bus to see his girlfriend and their son, Teddy Jr., 8 months. Family members erected a small memorial near the bus stop with a poster and several teddy bears.

Garvin's tennis coaches remembered him yesterday as a driven competitor with a powerful serve and a big smile.

"This child would go on a tennis court every day after school and practice," said Norman Holmes Jr., coach at Johnson Junior High School and founder of Totally Tennis, a local program in which Garvin developed his game. "If it was snowing, he would be out serving."

Staff writers Cheryl W. Thompson and Debbi Wilgoren contributed to this report.