ALBANY, N.Y., SEPT. 26 -- A sniper killed three passers-by and seriously wounded two others early today in a downtown neighborhood before he threw down his rifle from a rooftop and surrendered to police.

Authorities identified the gunman as Robert L. Beebe, 55, who lives in the apartment building from which the shots were fired.

Police said Beebe held them at bay on the roof for nearly an hour while they negotiated his surrender. Beebe was charged with three counts of murder and six of attempted murder.

The shooting spree began as a domestic quarrel between Beebe and his wife, according to Albany Detective Lt. Robert C. Grebert. He said he believed the first shots may have been fired at her.

Lisa Dolmas, who lives in a neighboring building, said she heard gunfire and saw one victim lying in the street near a pickup truck. "You could hear the guy over by the truck moaning," she said. "We knew he got hit, but we couldn't tell who it was."

Asked how many shots she heard, she said: "Lots, lots. There had to be 10 or 12 maybe. He would shoot four or five shots, and then you wouldn't hear anything for a while. Every time he shot two or three, {police} shot back at him."

The dead were identified as Pauline James, 48; George Perez, 17, and Michael Brewington, 34, all of Albany.

Wounded were Michael Tune, 29, listed in serious condition, and John Curtin, 51, who was in critical condition. Both live in Albany.