Terry Leon Boyd, a suspect in the killing of a 53-year-old woman in a Northwest Washington row house, was in stable condition yesterday after shooting himself in the head Sunday when confronted by Virginia State Police.

Police had been seeking Boyd, 22, in the death of Harold Ann East since shortly after her body was discovered Oct. 1 in a house in the 600 block of Hamilton Street NW. The body of Dorothy Redd, 65, also was found in the house that day.

Redd, who considered Boyd her grandson, shared the house with him and East, and authorities plan to present that case to the grand jury.

Boyd underwent surgery Sunday night at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital and was able to move his left hand and right foot yesterday, said Virginia State Police Sgt. E.G. Moses, adding that a state trooper is guarding him.

"He was responsive," Moses said. "But it may be a while before we get to talk to him."

State police, who recognized Boyd from radio descriptions, confronted him shortly after 2 p.m. Sunday on an exit ramp from Interstate 81 in Roanoke County, where he had pulled over with a flat tire. Police said Boyd had been driving at "excessive speed" and had run off the ramp and hit a culvert.

When state police arrived, Boyd was walking toward another car and was accompanied by occupants of that vehicle, who had stopped to help him change the tire. Officers drew their guns and shouted a warning that Boyd might be armed, police said, and the occupants ran to their car. Boyd dashed back to his, and the officers ordered him out. At that point, police said, Boyd pulled out a 9mm pistol hidden under his shirt and fired one shot into his head.

State police said Boyd had military identification on him and was still conscious when they handcuffed him.

Yesterday, in the Northwest neighborhood where the slain women lived, Monica Gant, a close friend of Redd's, said their relatives "hope he lives because they want him to stand trial and explain what he did. I want to know why, too."

Said Martha Byrd, a cousin of East's: "I'm just praying for him and her.

"I look at it like there was something the matter with him," Byrd said. "But I also pray for him. We do need an explanation."

Police in Virginia had been on the lookout for Boyd since early Sunday after receiving a description of a 1998 maroon Chevrolet Cavalier with Maryland tags he was said to be driving. The car had been stolen in a Gaithersburg carjacking several hours after the bodies of the two women were found in the District.

Police are not sure whether Boyd committed the carjacking, said Derek Baliles, a spokesman for Montgomery County police, but he said the description of Boyd was similar to the description of the carjacker.

D.C. police who arrived at the row home of Redd about 10 a.m. Oct. 1 initially believed that Redd, who had colon cancer, had died of natural causes. It was only after family members walked through the house that East's body was discovered in the basement.

Redd's death has been attributed to strangulation. East, police said, had been shot in the head and may have been sexually assaulted. They said the motive in East's killing appeared to be robbery.

Police said it is not clear if Boyd was Redd's biological grandson or if she merely considered him so. Boyd reportedly began living with Redd when he was 14. He had been in the Army but was dishonorably discharged during the summer.

Two other women were killed in recent weeks in houses in Northwest Washington. Police have found nothing to connect the deaths on Hamilton Street to those killings. But they said they are still looking at every aspect of each case.

Staff writer Martin Weil contributed to this report.