An electronics specialist who had battled crime in his neighborhood was charged as a fugitive after he surrendered in New Hampshire and claimed to be the person who shot four youths on a subway during an alleged holdup, authorities said yesterday.

Bernhard Hugo Goetz, 38, was being held in the Merrimack County Jail in lieu of $500,000 cash bail, said Concord, N.H., Police Lt. James Fletcher.

The fugitive charge stemmed from allegations of attempted murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, Fletcher said.

The Dec. 22 subway shootings set off a wave of support for the gunman, with hundreds of callers to a New York police hot line commending his actions. Police had issued a 13-state alarm for the man, who told a subway conductor the youths had "tried to rip me off."

Goetz surrendered "out of the blue" Monday, Concord Police Chief David Walchak said.

Goetz has not waived extradition but has been "cooperative," Robert McGowan, deputy inspector of the New York City police, said in New Hampshire. Goetz is to be arraigned in Concord District Court today.

"I never thought of Goetz as a violent person, and I still don't," said a 73-year-old retired mathematics professor who lives in Goetz's apartment building in Manhattan and who refused to give his name. "The fact he may have shot those kids, who were apparently trying to hold him up, doesn't mean he's violent."

"He worked very hard for the betterment of the tenants of the building," said a neighbor in his mid-50s who also refused to give his name. "The neighborhood is going to seed, and it really bothered him."