A 21-year-old Marine stationed in Washington was stabbed to death and another Marine was wounded after an altercation at a downtown dance club early yesterday morning, and D.C. police said they were searching for three to four possible suspects.

Josiah Fulton, of Hampton, Ga., was stabbed several times with a knife about 3:30 a.m. near Sixth and G streets NW. Fulton, who family members said had been part of President Bush's military security detail, was pronounced dead less than an hour later at Washington Hospital Center.

Fulton and a few friends had been at Club Insomnia, a warehouse-style dance club less than a block from the stabbing scene. Police said that while in the club, Fulton got into an altercation with a man, who was then thrown out of the club.

When Fulton and his friends later left, three or four men jumped out of a white vehicle and attacked Fulton, police reported. One of Fulton's friends -- a 20-year-old Marine whose name was not released -- was stabbed in the leg when he tried to intervene. He was treated and released from Washington Hospital Center, authorities said.

Witnesses said the vehicle might have been a Mazda 626, according to police.

"We can't say the same subject from the altercation inside the club was involved because we just don't know at this time," said Sgt. Joe Gentile, a police spokesman.

Fulton lived at Enterprise Hall at the Anacostia Annex in Southeast Washington and had been in the Marines since June 2000.

He had traveled with the president on several overseas trips, according to his father. Fulton was preparing to be transferred to the West Wing full-time in January, his father said.

"He was keeping that a secret and was going to tell everyone when he came for the holidays," said David Fulton, who lives in Georgia. "He was scheduled to come home Christmas Day."

His father described him as a fun-loving person who enjoyed water skiing, volleyball and basketball.

"He liked to make people laugh, liked to stay physically fit," his father said. "He wanted to be a Marine ever since his freshman year in high school."

Telephone messages left with the Marine Corps Division of Public Affairs were not returned yesterday.

Police ask anyone with information about the incident to call 202-727-9099. A $10,000 reward is offered to anyone providing information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for any homicide in the District.