Prince George's County police are searching for suspects in the fatal shooting of a Forestville man outside a Camp Springs nightclub early yesterday.

The killing was the county's 85th homicide this year, according to police. The victim, Shawn Bryant Hodges, 33, was inside the Classics Nightclub when he and a friend became involved in a dispute with unknown people about 2:15 a.m., Cpl. Clinton Copeland, a Prince George's police spokesman, said yesterday.

Copeland said that Hodges and the friend, whom police would not identify, were asked to leave. As they were walking in the club's parking lot in the 4500 block of Allentown Road, someone shot at Hodges.

Hodges was hit once in the upper body and taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Copeland said. Police do not know whether the people who were involved in the dispute inside the nightclub had any connection to the shooting, Copeland said.

One or more bullets also struck an unmarked police car used by off-duty officers working as bouncers in the club, Cpl. Diane I. Richardson, a police spokeswoman, said yesterday. Copeland was unable to say how many officers were working at the club when the shooting happened.

Hodges's mother, who lives in the District, provided a more detailed description of the incident in a telephone interview. Shirley Hodges wept briefly, then composed herself to tell the story she said she had received from several witnesses at the club.

Shawn Hodges was dancing with a woman in the crowded nightclub, his mother said, when he was confronted by the woman's boyfriend. "Shawn said, 'I don't want to bother your girlfriend,' " his mother said. "The guy hit the girl. Shawn went to the girl's defense. He was taking the girl to her car. They were trying to get up to the car when this guy went up and shot him.

"He was trying to do the right thing," his mother concluded.

A worker at the nightclub declined to comment on the incident or identify himself, referring requests for information to the police.

In the late 1990s, Hodges, a Ballou High School graduate, was convicted of drug offenses in the District and Prince George's County, as well as a number of other citations.

But Shirley Hodges said her son had done what he could to turn his life around, having recently taken a job as a truck driver for Canada Dry.

"He hadn't been in trouble in years," she said. "He was doing the right thing. He was working."

She has not yet made funeral arrangements for her son, who is survived by two daughters, ages 12 and 9.

Police ask anyone with information about the shooting to call investigators at 301-772-4925.

Staff writer Sandhya Somashekhar and staff researcher Meg Smith contributed to this report.