Two Northeast Washington women were arrested and charged yesterday with killing former D.C. school board member Terry Hairston during a botched robbery attempt last spring, police said.

Police officials said the women knew Hairston and visited his house May 15 to rob him. When Hairston refused to turn over cash, one of the women shot him in the upper body, police said.

Dannielle Wayne, 21, was arrested at 8 a.m. at her home in the 4400 block of Dix Street NE after police obtained a first-degree murder warrant. About an hour later, police picked up Arkeeta Hendrick, also 21, at her home in the 4300 block of Brooks Street NE for questioning. Later, she also was charged with first-degree murder.

Both women were jailed pending an appearance today in D.C. Superior Court.

Hairston, 38, represented Ward 7 on the school board from 1995 through 1998 and was planning a political comeback at the time of his death. His body was found in his home in the 300 block of Burns Street SE after relatives became concerned that he did not attend his niece's graduation.

His relatives and friends said yesterday that they were pleased that suspects were in custody but were bracing themselves for months of court hearings.

"We have been sitting idle," said Hairston's sister, Haretta Pearson. "It's just the beginning for us."

Police said they still were sorting out which woman allegedly fired the fatal shot. They said detectives were led to the women after investigators found at least one witness who overheard Wayne discuss the crime.

Authorities initially said that the killing might have stemmed from an argument about money. Yesterday, they said they had narrowed their focus to a botched robbery. It does not appear that the women stole anything, police said. They declined to say how well the women knew Hairston or how they knew him.

Hairston's assailants fled in a rental car that he had been using while his vehicle was being repaired, police said. The car was discovered about a week later near the 6th Police District station in Northeast Washington, police said.

Hairston was working as a long-term substitute special-education teacher at White Oak Middle School in Silver Spring, friends said. But he longed to get back into politics, they said.

In the days before he died, Hairston filed papers announcing his intention to run for the Ward 7 D.C. Council seat held by Democrat Kevin P. Chavous. After the killing, Hairston's mother, Mia Hairston-Hamilton, ran and finished third in last week's Democratic primary, in which Chavous was defeated by Vincent C. Gray.

Calvin Hawkins, a close friend of Hairston's, said the killing "resonated with the community." People often approached Hairston-Hamilton during her campaign to express condolences, Hawkins said.

"He was a giving person who went beyond the call of duty to help his community," Hawkins said. "Nobody could understand why such a bright life would end so tragically."

Staff researcher Bobbye Pratt contributed to this report.

After leaving the school board in 1998, Terry Hairston taught. He had planned to run for D.C. council in the primaries last week.