A 23-year-old Southwest man was shot in the chest and seriously wounded while riding a Metrobus home from work yesterday afternoon by one of four youths with whom he had been quarreling, D.C. olice said.

Harvey E. Hunter, 137 Galveston Place SW whom police identified as a mail handler at The Washington Star, was reported in serious condition at the Greater Southeast Community Hospital, suffering from two small caliber bullet wounds in the chest.

Hunter and the four juveniles were sitting in the rear of the bus, according to driver Edgar Lee Kettles, 27. When the youths left the bus at the Alabama and Martin Luther King avenues stop, Hunter followed them to the rear exit, Kettles said.

"He was telling those guys 'You don't have anything to hurt me,'" Kettles said.

"'You want to do something about it now,'" one of the youths yelled back, according to Kettles. Then as one juvenile held the door, another fired at Hunter, the driver said.

"I hear pow, pow. I thought it was blanks because he (Hunter) never moved. Then, about two blocks later, he (Hunter) came running up to the front and said, 'Man, I'm shot. I got to have a doctor,'" Kettles said.

The six other passengers on the bus heading for Fort Drum were uninjured, police said. The youths crossed Martin Luther King Avenue and disappeared into a heavily wooded park, police said.