Three Fairfax County police officers have been placed on administrative leave after the fatal shooting Wednesday night of a Fredericksburg, Va., man who had been wanted in connection with a slaying in Colonial Beach, Va.

Police officers Michael Douglas Scott, a five-year veteran of the force, Stephen Hardgrove, a two-year veteran, and Richard Shaffer, a four-year veteran, were placed on leave following the 10 p.m. shooting. The leave, said a police spokesman, "is a general practice . . . not a punitive measure."

According to police accounts, William Gates, 39, of Fredericksburg, was shot by police as he was leaving the Franconia Moose Lodge, where his wife works as a bartender.

Police had gone to the lodge looking for Gates after police in Colonial Beach notified them that Gates, a suspect in the Wednesday evening slaying of Lawrence Bryant, 36, of Colonial Beach, might be there.

When Gates came out of the lodge, the police spokesman said, he saw the uniformed police wating for him and reached for a gun concealed in his belt. The officers, the spokesman said, called out: "Police. Freeze!" But Gates "continued reaching for the gun."

Police fired six shots, the spokesman said, from two shotguns and a .38-caliber police revolver. Police said it had not yet been determined whether Gates' gun had been fired.

Gates was pronounced dead shortly after 11 p.m. at Mount Vernon hospital.