A 34-year-old businessman who was walking a dog in the Mount Pleasant section of Northwest Washington was shot to death there late Saturday, D.C. police said.

Police identified him as Greg Shipe, and others said he was a Mount Pleasant resident who recently returned to the area from Nashville after receiving a master's degree in business administration. They said he had a job at a major advertising and public relations company.

The shooting occurred about 10:45 p.m. in the 1700 block of Irving Street, which neighbors described as relatively busy. No information was available about a possible motive or suspects.

"He was a friend of everyone's and was always full of fun and full of life," said a fellow member of the class of 2004 at Vanderbilt University's graduate business school, adding that Shipe was "a great guy."

D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) called the killing a "horrible event" and said that it was the first fatal shooting in Mount Pleasant in almost two years.

A neighbor said she recalled hearing voices on Irving Street shortly before the shooting.

"Two male voices," she said, "just talking," not angry or hostile but louder than the tones of normal conversation.

There was a silence, she said. "Then a shot . . . a loud explosion." After that, silence again, she said. When she looked out a window, she saw nothing out of the ordinary.

"I didn't see anything or anybody," she said.

Sgt. Joe Gentile, a police spokesman, said the man was shot in the face and was dead when police arrived.

The neighbor said the man apparently fell on the sidewalk on the tree-lined north side of Irving, which is full of rowhouses.

Graham said that the man lived on Kenyon Street, one block north of Irving, and that the dog he was walking found its way back there after the shooting. The size and breed of the dog were not known.

Civic activist Terry Lynch, who lives in Mount Pleasant, called the killing tragic for the victim and for the message it seemed to send to the neighborhood: that it is "not safe after dark. . . . a real risk to go out and go about your business at night."

Lynch said that a number of late-night robberies had been reported recently in the Mount Pleasant area, though usually not on Irving.

Graham said police were on patrol in the area in numbers before the shooting and that they responded in force afterward. They are seeking witnesses, he said.

"Even something that seems trivial can be important," he said of any information in the case.

Graham said friends of the victim's placed flowers at the spot where he was shot. He said they told him the man recently began a new job.

Others said that Shipe took time off after receiving his master's degree in May 2004 and that he had been working for at least several months. Records indicated that he lived on Columbia Road NW before entering graduate school. It was not clear when he moved back to the area.

Kelly Christie, director of student life at the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt, called Shipe a "terrific student" who specialized in the area of finance.

"He was a very capable young man," she said. "It's tragic."