A 72-year-old Poolesville man shot his 71-year-old live-in girlfriend in the face after she hit him with a cordless phone, Montgomery County police said yesterday.

Leo Helms of the 19300 block of Jerusalem Road was charged Tuesday night with attempted first-degree murder, first-degree assault, second-degree assault and other crimes, according to charging documents filed in Montgomery District Court.

His girlfriend, Jane Jones, was in critical condition yesterday, said Lt. Eric Burnett, a police spokesman. Jones has lived with Helms for several years, said Helms's stepson, Ellsworth Naylor. Naylor said Helms has lived his entire life in upper Montgomery, working as a bricklayer and as a maintenance man for Montgomery public schools.

Jones and Helms began arguing late Tuesday afternoon. After she hit Helms with a cordless phone, Helms got his pistol and pointed it in the air, according to the charging documents. He then "threatened [Jones] with death," pointed the gun at her and fired it once, charging documents state.

Jones called 911 after she was shot. She was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center. Montgomery District Court Judge Thomas L. Craven ordered Helms released from the Montgomery jail yesterday on personal recognizance.